When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell came to the podium to announce the Carolina Panthers’ first-round pick this past Thursday, many were expecting the name “Justin Fields” to come out of his mouth. Except it didn’t.
As we know now, the name was Jaycee Horn, the standout cornerback out of the University of South Carolina. But what we didn’t know, at least until today, was why the Panthers passed on the talented Fields with their obvious need for a quarterback.
Well, head coach Matt Rhule jumped on The Rich Eisen Show on Tuesday to explain why it was Horn, and not Fields (or even Mac Jones), that was worth the eighth overall selection of the 2021 draft.
Rhule’s two-for-one theory is great . . . as long as Sam Darnold doesn’t completely stink up the joint like he did in New York. It’ll also help if Fields doesn’t become an absolute superstar for the Chicago Bears, who traded up to the 11th slot to grab him, and if Horn develops into the freakish, shutdown corner Rhule and general manager Scott Fitterer drafted him to be.
Only time will tell. Until then, the pressure on—for Rhule, Fitterer, Horn and, perhaps especially, Darnold.