Jul 28, 2012; Spartanburg, SC USA. Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) runs drills during the training camp held at Wofford College. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE
My 53 man roster prediction has already been blown up so as I was pondering some changes it became obvious we need to first talk training camp Risers & Fallers. There may be no official depth chart yet (hey, we need to do that too) but players are rising and falling none the less. Here's my take on those two:
- K Justin Medlock - He's nailing most (on avg 7 of 8) of his kicks including 50+ yarders and also driving it deep into the end zone on kick offs; Watch out Olindo Mare!
- LB Luke Kuechly - Though the bar was already set high for this guy he's exceeded it so far; Is it too early to start talking Defensive ROY? I'm at least saying he's going to be in the conversation
- WR Armanti Edwards - Though I might back off my statements on Cat Scratch Radio that Edwards is now in the mix to make the 53, Edwards has done nothing but catch everything thrown at him and looked good doing it. I saw him go over the middle and go up high, in traffic and snatch balls. Don't count him out just yet, we know this kid has moxie.
- RB Mike Tolbert - Another new addition with an initial high bar, Tolbert looks like a guy who might lead the skill players in plays and touches in 2012. His hands are as good as advertised and as James likes to say, he is built like a soda machine. A soda machine that runs like the wind and hits like a truck.
- G Roger Allen - The Panthers appear to have one more guard spot open behind Amini Silatolu, Geoff Hangartner, and Mike Pollack. Allen looked very solid in the one-on-drills Sunday night handling bull rushes while keeping his base low. He might still need to work on picking up stunts for example but he stood out in my view and could be the second UDFA on the Panthers offensive line.
- DE Ryan Van Bergan - Jyles Tucker's departure opens the door for another versatile DE and Van Bergen looks like he wants it. He's another high-motor guy with the size (6'4" 300 lbs) and versatility to play inside or out. If he can play special teams effectively he's another UDFA that could make the initial 53.
The Fallers based on my observations and reasoning:
- WR David Gettis - I realize he can;t help the fact he's still recovering from injury and got put on the PUP. But if you aren't out there then its never good. With the competition like Louis Murphy looking so good it makes it even worse.
- OT Garry Williams - Williams looks like he came into camp heavy which can't be good when trying to recover from a broken ankle. He looked a little slow on the speed rush and now is in a dogfight with Lee Ziemba for the back-up RT spot.
- TE Gary Barnidge - With the addition of FB Mike Tolbert the Panthers might not need three TE's and Barnidge hasn't really shined in camp so far. His special teams play might save him but otherwise I'd rather see that roster spot used on a WR or a 4th RB/FB/TE like Richie Brockel.
- OT Jeff Otah - The bar was already set low for Otah and he has gone under it easily. Two failed physicals with a 3rd expected today will do that.
- WR Seyi Ajirotutu - The Panthers might disagree with me but I've seen a some key drops in practice from Seyi and if you can't do it in practice how can we trust you to do it in a game? I love his size and speed but he's still making too many mental mistakes for a 3rd year guy.