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Carolina Panthers

Panthers take Jaycee Horn eighth overall

Jaycee Horn

CHARLOTTE — The Panthers might have loved to have had the chance to take a cornerstone left tackle.

They took someone they think is a cornerstone cornerback instead, leaving a quarterback on the board in the process.

With the eighth pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Panthers selected South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn .

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Horn is the kind of physical player they're looking for at the position, an aggressive press corner who will be able to compete in the NFC South.

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule talked about Horn's ability to match up against the big receivers of the division, and to do so immediately, able to start opposite Donte Jackson from day one.

"I just think with the big receivers we have to face, week in and week out, you have Mike Evans, you have Chris Godwin, you have Michael Thomas, you have Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, now Kyle Pitts. It's going to take a lot of guys who can cover, and also can cover really big men.

"You know how we feel about Donte, we're excited about the guys we brought in last year, but there's a size match up in the NFC South that matters. And he checks that box for us."

Horn also brings a bit of swagger to the secondary they lacked.

"We loved the competitive makeup, the cover ability, and just the person," general manager Scott Fitterer said. "He brings a lot of energy. I think he's a really good fit for this team and we're excited to get him."

The Panthers just missed on a chance to draft left tackle Penei Sewell, who went one pick ahead of them to Detroit.

But with Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields still on the board, the phones rang, but none of the offers swayed them from the chance to add a cornerback of Horn's ability.

"We fielded calls, but there wasn't anything that matched moving away from Jaycee," Fitterer said.

View photos of cornerback Jaycee Horn during his career with the Gamecocks.

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