Panthers place cornerback Jaycee Horn on IR: Taking a look at their internal options

The Panthers’ top cornerback will be sidelined for at least the next four games.

The team announced Friday it placed starting cornerback Jaycee Horn on the injured reserve list. Horn suffered a “serious” hamstring injury in the Week 1 loss to Atlanta, according to head coach Frank Reich.

Horn’s placement on the injured reserve list comes after he sought extra opinions on his injury. Reich said that surgery and a stint on IR were on the table for Horn on Wednesday.

With Horn ineligible to return until at least Week 6, the Panthers will need to consider replacement options.

On Wednesday, Reich said he had confidence in fellow starter Donte Jackson as well as veteran depth contributors CJ Henderson and Troy Hill. Henderson is expected to be the immediate replacement for Horn, while Hill works the nickel position with Jeremy Chinn.

The Panthers also have rookie D’Shawn Jamison, who was claimed off waivers after final cuts, and Sam Webb, who was signed off the Las Vegas Raiders’ practice squad Thursday.

The Carolina Panthers top cornerback, was placed on injured reserve following a hamstring injury in a Week 1 loss to Atlanta.
The Carolina Panthers top cornerback, was placed on injured reserve following a hamstring injury in a Week 1 loss to Atlanta.

The Panthers’ internal cornerback depth chart

Here’s a breakdown the Panthers’ internal cornerback depth chart, including the practice squad(*):

Donte Jackson: The veteran cornerback will continue to start amid the shakeup in the secondary. He has recovered nicely from Achilles surgery and will now be the top cornerback on the depth chart for the foreseeable future.

CJ Henderson: Talented but inconsistent, Henderson will be asked to fill the immediate void left by Horn on the outside. After strong showing at Wofford College, Henderson had an up-and-down preseason followed by an underwhelming outing against Atlanta.

Troy Hill: The former Rams defensive back has the ability to play all around the secondary. He will start as a rotational nickel corner, but he eventually could replace Henderson if he struggles on the outside. Hill has worked with defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and cornerbacks coach Jonathan Cooley during his career.

D’Shawn Jamison: The Panthers claimed Jamison off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers this month. The rookie corner from Texas has the ability to return kickoffs and contribute on special teams. At 5-foot-9 and 186 pounds, he’s likely slated for the slot if called upon on defense. Jamison was inactive in Week 1.

Sam Webb: The second-year corner from Missouri Western has nice size at 6-foot and 202 pounds. After playing his rookie season in Las Vegas, he shouldn’t be deterred by being thrust onto the field. Webb appeared in all 17 games last season (three starts) for the Raiders as an undrafted rookie.

Eric Rowe*: The veteran of the practice squad secondary group, Rowe is also a special teams ace. The former second-round pick has played a lot of ball in the NFL and could create further depth in the secondary due to his versatility. Rowe is best fit as a nickel corner or free safety, but he can play other roles in a pinch. He seems like the most likely practice-squad elevation over the next week or so.

Mark Milton*: The rookie from Baylor spent the entire offseason with the Panthers. He was waived during final cuts and resurfaced on the practice squad a day later. Milton had a solid summer and know the defense.

Dicaprio Bootle*: Signed this week, Bootle spent parts of the past two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. He could get up to speed with the defense over the next few weeks and eventually see some playing time.

Lamar Jackson*: Like Bootle, Jackson was also signed this week. At 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds, Jackson could be an option on the outside. He has appeared in 22 career games and produced 31 tackles and four pass breakups since 2020.