The Carolina Panthers appear to be severely lacking in experience at the cornerback position. They have one player with more than 20 snaps during the regular season: third year veteran Donte Jackson. Beyond Jackson they have three rookies and a handful of unproven young players. Do the Panthers really plan to start Corn Elder, Cole Luke or even more risky, a fourth round draft pick at cornerback? It’s a situation that seems to scream for veteran leadership.
The Panthers don’t have a lot of cap space to work with, just over $7 million per Spotrac, but that is enough to sign one of these these free agents.
Pro Football Focus grades the past three seasons: 72.2, 68.6 and 74.9
Over the last three years, Dennard owns the 12th best slot coverage grade among 42 qualifying cornerbacks and has had two of those three seasons end with a top-30 finish among all cornerbacks in PFF WAR. On targets of 10-plus yards from the slot in that timespan, Dennard has allowed the lowest catch rate in the NFL. I’m betting Dennard would take a one-year, $3 million dollar deal at this point.
PFF grades last three seasons: 63.8, 65, 64.5
He has vast experience playing press-man coverage, though, and wasn’t bad in that role this past season. Apple’s 0.87 yards allowed per coverage snap in press at outside corner ranked 13th in the NFL in 2019. The 2016 top 10 pick is a reclamation project, but still one man-heavy teams should consider like the Miami Dolphins.
From Week 14 through conference championship play, Brock went on to own the third-highest coverage grade on the outside. He’s not one you want long-term, but Brock isn’t a terrible option for a team with limited cap space who is desperate for help at outside corner.
Would you advise the Panthers to sign any of these three?