Jaycee Horn

Panthers, Jaycee Horn Agree To Deal

The Panthers have agreed to terms with first-round pick Jaycee Horn (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). The South Carolina product will earn $21.1MM fully guaranteed on his four-year deal, per the terms of his No. 8 overall slot

As expected, Horn was the first cornerback to come off of the board, beating out the likes of Patrick Surtain and Caleb Farley. The rival Saints also had an eye on him, but they couldn’t swing a deal to get into the top 10.

Many believed that the Panthers would target offensive line help for new quarterback Sam Darnold, but they couldn’t pass up Horn’s potential. The son of former Pro Bowl wideout Joe Horn, the defensive back offers a rare combination of speed and physicality at cornerback.

Horn was on the draft radar ever since his solid 2018 showing. By 2020, he solidified his status as an elite prospect. In his final year with the Buckeyes, Horn nabbed a pair interceptions and notched six passes defended in just seven games (Horn sat out the final stretch of the year after the departure of head coach Will Muschamp).

With Horn taken care of, only ten of this year’s 32 first-rounders remain unsigned. That includes the top four in this year’s draft — Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, and Kyle Pitts. Meanwhile, the Panthers have just three stragglers to go.

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Saints Tried To Trade Up For Jaycee Horn, Patrick Surtain II

The Saints ended up bolstering their defensive end corps in the first round, but the four-time reigning AFC South champions spent extensive time Thursday night attempting to trade up for a cornerback.

Jaycee Horn appealed most to the team, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Duncan (subscription required). New Orleans’ trade efforts to move into the top 10 centered on Joe Horn‘s son, but teams were not eager to move out of their positions that high in the draft. Most did not entertain the Saints’ pre-draft offers.

The effort to trade into the top 10 also involved Patrick Surtain II, whom the Saints expected to be gone by No. 10 (Dallas). However, only one team picking that high entered into substantive discussions with the Saints, per Duncan. The Broncos ended up taking Surtain at No. 9 but had previously talked about moving down with the Saints. And “substantive” might be excessive here, with the Broncos wanting multiple first- and second-round picks to move down 18 spots. Viewing the Broncos’ counteroffer as unreasonable, the Saints did not entertain it and later watched as Denver selected the Alabama corner just after Carolina drafted Horn.

Three years ago, the Saints managed to pull off a somewhat similar trade. They moved from No. 27 to No. 14 to select Marcus Davenport. That deal cost the team a 2019 first-rounder and a fifth-rounder later in the ’18 draft. New Orleans ended up adding to its D-end crew Thursday by selecting Payton Turner, but the team has a clear need going into Friday’s draft portion.

Finding a corner to join Marshon Lattimore and C.J. Garnder-Johnson will be paramount for the Saints on Friday night. They are expected to add multiple players to this position by offseason’s end, per Duncan. New Orleans lost Janoris Jenkins in free agency. While Patrick Robinson remains on the team, the Saints have not used the veteran extensively in his second stint with the team.

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Panthers Select South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn At No. 9

The 2021 NFL Draft offers a handful of top-tier cornerback prospects, and the first one is finally off the board. With the ninth-overall pick, the Panthers selected South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn.

It always seemed like a foregone conclusion that Horn would be selected in the first round of the draft; it was just a matter of if he’d be the first cornerback off the board. He ultimately earned that distinction, beating out the likes of Patrick Surtain and Caleb Farley.

The son of former Pro Bowl wideout Joe Horn, the defensive back prospect has more than family pedigree on his side. Standing at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, Horn possesses the rare combination of speed and physicality. The prospect undoubtedly has the talent to become one of the top players at his position, and the Panthers are clearly bullish on his potential.

Horn was on the draft radar for several years following solid campaigns in 2018 and 2019. He seemed to elevate his play in 2020, collecting a pair of interceptions, six passes defended, and 10 tackles in only seven games. However, following the dismissal of head coach Will Muschamp, Horn sat out the final stretch of the 2020 campaign.

Considering the draft capital that the Panthers gave up for Sam Darnold, it’s a bit of a surprise that the front office didn’t look to provide their new quarterback with offensive line help. Still, it’s hard to be critical of the Horn selection. Carolina’s current depth chart consists of Donte Jackson and Troy Pride, so the rookie will probably be a starter from Day 1.

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Cowboys Split On Which Cornerback To Select At No. 10

The Cowboys could be eyeing a cornerback with the No. 10 pick, but it sounds like the organization is split on who they should take. Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network reports that there’s a “50/50 split” in the Dallas front office about whether the team should select Patrick Surtain II or Jaycee Horn with their first-round pick.

If the Cowboys are indeed seeking a cornerback, it makes sense that the team is deciding between Surtain and Horn; the duo has established themselves as the top-two cornerbacks in the entire draft. Dallas could use reinforcement everywhere on their defense, but as ESPN’s Todd Archer notes, there aren’t pass-rushers or defensive tackles worth taking at the No. 10 spot (and the team’s need for a linebacker doesn’t outweigh their need for a cornerback). While the Cowboys front office is apparently struggling to decide which of the cornerbacks to select (assuming they even have that luxury), the team can be confident that they’ll be adding a foundational piece to their defense.

While it’s always important to take pre-draft news with a grain of salt, Archer notes that the Cowboys have generally hinted at their first-round selection days before the draft. The reporter details how the Cowboys have narrowed their focus on a specific first-rounder each year since 2015, with the one exception being last year when CeeDee Lamb unexpectedly fell.

One thing is for sure: the Cowboys won’t be trading up from No. 10. The team has made it abundantly clear that they won’t pay the required bounty in order to move up the draft board, even if tight end Kyle Pitts (a Jerry Jones favorite) falls outside of the top-four

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Cardinals Eyeing CBs, Jaylen Waddle?

Quarterbacks and other top-10 prospects have dominated this year’s draft discussions, overshadowing the rest of this year’s class. The Cardinals hold pick No. 16 and are considering multiple paths, including one that involves a highly coveted pass catcher.

Arizona is interested in cornerbacks Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn, per ProFootballNetwork.com’s Tony Pauline, who adds the team is also eyeing Jaylen Waddle. However, it is quite possible all three of these players will be gone by the time the Cardinals go on the clock. This would point the Steve Keim-run team to a trade-up scenario.

The Cards gave A.J. Green a one-year, $6MM deal to see if he can rediscover his pre-2019 form. They have Christian Kirk, but he is going into a contract year and has not been especially consistent as a pro. Larry Fitzgerald remains unsigned and is expected to retire after 17 seasons. Waddle would certainly make for a flashy DeAndre Hopkins complementary piece, but the Cards would almost certainly have to trade up to land him.

Patrick Peterson defected to the Vikings in free agency, and although Arizona agreed to terms with Malcolm Butler, he is going into his age-31 season. The Cardinals have Byron Murphy signed through 2022 but could use additional help at corner. Surtain has been viewed as a player likely to go off the board in the top half of the first round for months, while Horn has made a late climb. However, Todd McShay’s latest ESPN.com mock has the South Carolina corner falling to the Cards at 16.

The team is believed to view linebacker Zaven Collins as a potential contingency plan, according to Pauline. A Tulsa product, Collins has a versatile skill set that could be utilized as a pass rusher or pure linebacker. The Cards going in this direction would be interesting, given Haason Reddick‘s struggles in a hybrid role for most of his Arizona tenure and the team’s selection of versatile ‘backer Isaiah Simmons in last year’s first round.

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