Today the Panthers added another player to the roster, signing Jyles Tucker, DE/OLB out of Wake Forest. Tucker is in his 4th year pro after graduating from Wake Forest and being signed by the Chargers as an Undrafted Free Agent. Tucker is 6'3 and weighs 258 lbs. (per NFL.com) and runs a 4.75 40 yard dash with a 31.0 inch vertical leap.
Coming into the NFL, Tucker received moderate success as a rookie, and finished the season with 3.5 sacks, 11 tackles, and 2 Forced Fumbles in only 6 games of action. Tucker's immediate impact and the expiration of his contract, encouraged AJ Smith and the Chargers brass to sign him to a 5 year 14 million dollar deal in 2008. The next season Tucker continued to progress, and started 12 games, finishing the 2008 season with 26 tackles, and 5.5 sacks, as well as a blocked punt. Tucker exhibited natural pass rushing skills, and displayed quality burst and penetration. Unfortunately, Tucker incurred an ankle injury in Training Camp 2009, the injury would limit Tucker to 7 games played in 2009. However, Tucker tore his pectoral muscle while rushing a punt during 2010, ending his season. After an injury plagued two years, the Chargers cut Tucker before Training Camp last year.
Having once been billed as the heir apparent to Shawne Merriman in San Diego, and racking up 9 sacks in 18 games, it is easy to see what former Chargers DC, and current Panthers Coach Ron Rivera sees in Jyles Tucker. Tucker provides further depth to the Panthers Defensive Ends, as well as versatility to the Panthers 4-3/3-4 reads, after playing 4 years in the Coach Rivera's 3-4 defense. Adding Tucker to the Panthers will help fill out the Panthers Defensive End group, and allows Defensive Ends Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson to receive adequate rest and reprieve. Tucker also provides a killer instinct that the Panthers Defense has been lacking in recent years...
Rattlesnake vs NFL OLB Jyles Tucker (via autobrokersunlimited)
Playing Oracle, the Panthers signing of Tucker may be played off as small potatoes, or conversely, it could be an outline for the Panthers plans this offseason. Tucker's body size and skill set is very similar to Antwan Applewhite, another former Chargers OLB; thus, this move may spell the end of Applewhite's days in Charlotte. Another possibility is the renewed vigor in the search for more talented pass rushers, possibly signaling an increased interest in players such as, Quinton Coples, Whitney Mercilus, or Michael Brockers.
Overall, I think that this move makes a ton of sense for the Panthers, and is a classic, "low risk, high reward" move, that can only benefit the Panthers Defense moving into the 2012 season. Okay CSR communitty, What do you fellas think about the signing of Tucker?