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Panthers CB Jaycee Horn looking to show he is still 'one of the best DBs in this league' 

Jaycee Horn knows all too well how quickly things can change in the NFL.

After all, he's seen two coaches come and go in Carolina over the last year and a half. He's well aware that now is the time to produce if he wants to build a long-term home in Charlotte -- but also feels grateful the Panthers haven't let his lack of availability motivate them to move on from him.

"It felt good, felt good just knowing they believe in me, seeing the work I put in," Horn said of Carolina's decision to pick up his fifth-year option despite playing in double-digit games just once over three seasons. "Now it's just staying on the field, controlling what I can control and playing good football."

Horn has played a career total of just 22 games over three seasons. His season high for appearances stands at 13, which he logged in 2022. It's no surprise that was the year in which he produced his best statistical totals: 13 games, 53 tackles, three interceptions and seven passes defensed.

Those numbers suggest Horn might still live up to his status as a former first-round pick. But there's no guarantee he will until he proves he can make it through a season largely unscathed.

Carolina might be wise to learn from the past and bolster the secondary in the event Horn cannot go. Such an option could include a former Panther and fellow former South Carolina Gamecock, Stephon Gilmore.

Despite being aware of the pressure that will come with 2024 (and 2025), Horn is open to the idea.

"Yeah, we've got plenty of room," Horn said. "That's on them upstairs. We'll see what they do."

In the meantime, Horn can only focus on his own goals, with staying healthy ranking chief among them. And just because he's been out doesn't mean he hasn't been working.

If he could ever just avoid the injury bug, Horn feels like he could deliver on his potential.

"I watch tape, I know what I'm capable of and I still feel like I'm one of the best DBs in this league," he said. "I've just got to be out there to show it. That's what I'm looking forward to doing."

He'll have two seasons to do so -- and the most important of them arrives in September.

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