The Panthers haven’t found a guy who could play like Josh Norman, since they let the All-Pro cornerback go without compensation.
But they’ve at least found a guy who can talk like him.
Panthers second-round pick Donte Jackson made a big impression in his rookie minicamp, with a level of bravado that rookies don’t always display.
“I talk,” Jackson said, via Bill Voth of the team’s official website. “But I don’t really do the superhero thing. I wake up like this. Just a natural edge. Like Beyoncé said, ‘She woke up like that.’”
“Did he just quote Beyoncé?” Panthers coach Ron Rivera asked moments later. “He is a personality. He’s got a lot of confidence. You see it on the field. You see it when you talk to him. You watch it in his gait, the way he carries himself. That’s the type of attitude you have to have if you want to play in this league. You have to have a certain type of swagger.
“Josh Norman had it. He had it from Day One. You guys saw it. He struggled a little bit, but because of his swagger, he was able to bring himself back. Well, this young man’s got something.”
Of course, Jackson’s got a long road in front of him to reach Norman’s level of play. But the Panthers hope the small-but-fast (4.32-second 40 at the combine) corner can help them match up with some of the speed receivers in their division. And if he can turn into a player like Norman, then they’ll be able to crow about finding him in the second round.