We're wrapping up the UDFA signings today with five players, including the one signing most likely to be a hidden gem, North Carolina CB Kendric Burney.
On the surface this seems like a rather pointless signing. After all, with Ryan Kalil already on the roster and Ryan Pugh already having familiarity with Cam Newton adding Gianniotto seems redundant; however, if you watched any of the 2010 preseason you know why having depth at the position is necessary. In a word, Mackenzy Bernardeau was terrible in the center role, and the Panthers didn't have any reliable talent to lean on. Gianniotto will get a chance to impress and he could get a backup role or a spot on the PS.
Career statistics: 32 game starter
More after the jump
Ugo Chinasa, DE - Oklahoma State
If you Google Chinasa's name you find that he appears on almost 80% of fan made 2010 mock drafts for a variety of team where he appears in either the 6th or 7th round. The aggressiveness with which he plays the game endears him to fans, but the NFL felt differently when he failed to be drafted. At 6'5", 260lbs he's much closer to a true DE size than several of the players on the roster, and he likely stands a good chance of winning a PS spot.
2010 stats: 39 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF
Burney was a player many fans wanted the Panthers to take on the second day of the draft. In the end, concerns about his character because of his NCAA suspension, coupled with a less than stellar senior season pushed him out of the draft. When that happened scouts immediately evaluated Burney as one of the best UDFA prospects available, and thankfully the Panthers convinced him to stay in state. In 2009 he showed rare talent finishing with 50 tackles, 5 INTs and 2 TDs.
2010 stats (suspension shortened season): 30 tackles, 2 INT
Byron Bell, T - New Mexico
Byron Bell is a large man... the 6'5", 325 lb OT was on several team's radars who were looking for OL depth. As it stands, a good camp from Bell could win him a roster spot with the likes of Mackenzy Bernardeau and Duke Robinson being far from locks for roster spots. Bell's size is unmatched, but concerns about his desire and motor caused him to fall out of the draft. When motivated, Bell was one of the better LT's in the country, but that motivation wasn't always present. Perhaps this new coaching staff can instill some urgency in him.
Career stats: Started every game, 2010 All Mountain West honorable mention
Darvin Adams, WR - Auburn
Cam Newton's favorite target followed him to Carolina as he accepted the offer to try and win a spot with the Carolina Panthers. Adams has elite level athleticism, however concerns about his strength and whether or not he was really that talented, or whether it was all Cam Newton knocked his stock down significantly. Regardless, he has a bond with Newton from Auburn and if he can show he's about to work with other QBs he could get a shot. The road is going to be rough for Adams to make the roster though.
2010 stats: 52 receptions, 963 yards, 7 TD