The Carolina Panthers first-round draft pick Jaycee Horn is in Charlotte and ready to get to work. The former Gamecock cornerback sat down to speak with local media less than 24 hours after learning of his selection.
Horn will face some of the top receivers in the league within the NFC South division and his tenacious competitive nature will be tested regularly. As for where that attitude comes from, Horn says it was bred in him at an early age.
“I feel like the way I grew up and the way my dad raised me, growing up with a lot of siblings, cousins there was a lot of competing, a lot of fighting going on. And also just growing up in the Atlanta area, it’s a real big sports state and a lot of competing going on for me at a young age.”
That competitive drive will be needed on a defensive unit that finished in the bottom half of almost every defensive category. Horn’s size and coverage skills will also allow the Panthers to explore more defensive schemes instead of settling for a zone as they did the majority of last season. He is expected to make an immediate impact – an expectation that made the 6’1 corner a no-brainer as the No. 8 pick. Horn is no stranger to the NFL as his father Joe Horn was a four-time Pro Bowler and is enshrined in the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame. Being around the environment early allows the younger Horn to stay balanced.
“Yeah, my dad kind of raised me that way, just to try to stay balanced, not get too high, not get too low. I mean yeah, I guess that’s why I am the way that I am. I don’t get overly excited, I don’t get to down on myself, I just try to stay consistent.”
Consistency will be key on a defensive secondary that has been anything but that. Free agency departures and rashes of injuries plagued the Panthers last season – a problem that hope to avoid the the season kicks off in September.