When the Carolina Panthers were doing some advance scouting on Buffalo during the preseason, then-Bills cornerback Kevon Seymour stood out in part because of his speed and ball skills.
Seymour, a second-year player, will get to show off both Sunday when he’s thrown into a big spot Sunday at New England.
Seymour, acquired four weeks ago in a trade with Buffalo, will make his first start as a Panther when he replaces injured cornerback Daryl Worley against Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Worley (shoulder, pectoral) is one of five players ruled out for Sunday’s game in Foxborough, Mass.
Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil will miss his third consecutive game with a neck injury, and rookie wideout Curtis Samuel will sit after his back tightened up late in the week.
Rookie defensive end Daeshon Hall (knee) and linebacker Jeremy Cash (calf) also will miss the game.
Quarterback Cam Newton was listed as limited all week during practice for the second week in a row, although Panthers coach Ron Rivera said his quarterback is stronger than he was heading into the Saints game.
“He just got progressively stronger and stronger as the week went on. He was throwing the ball very well,” Rivera said. “Staying in the pocket, making good decisions.”
Newton, coming off the third-worst passer rating of his career vs. the Saints, will be without one of his young targets against the Patriots.
Samuel, the second-round pick from Ohio State, picked up 31 yards on a reverse against New Orleans before being injured again. Samuel missed significant time during the preseason with a hamstring issue.
Former South Carolina receiver/sprinter Damiere Byrd is expected to get more snaps against the Patriots in Samuel’s absence.
“This is one of those things, you ask a rookie who hasn’t practiced two days in a row to be ready to play. We don’t want to do that to him, or the team,” Rivera said. “So we’ll give some other guys a few more reps in the game.”
Linebacker Thomas Davis (ribs) and wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (knee) both will play Sunday after being injured against New Orleans.
But Worley wasn’t able to recover from the injury he sustained on a big hit against Saints running back Alvin Kamara late in last week’s game.
That means an opportunity for Seymour, who came to Carolina in exchange for wide receiver Kaelin Clay and the Panthers’ seventh-round pick in 2019 on Sept. 2.
Seymour, 6-feet and 185 pounds, was the Bills’ sixth-round pick in 2016 out of Southern Cal. He ran the 40 in 4.39 seconds at the 2016 combine, putting him among the fastest players on the Panthers’ roster.
Seymour started three games last season for the Bills, but only played 13 defensive snaps in the two meetings with the Patriots.
“He is long, but he’s got good speed,” Rivera said. “He’s got quick-twitch and he’s got good ball skills. I think that plays very nicely to his skill set.”