Carolina Panthers sign CFL #1 overall pick to contract

Jeff Vinnick

Linden Gaydosh did enough in the rookie minicamp to earn a bigger commitment, and now he'll head to Spartanburg.

Signing a player from the rookie minicamp to make an appearance at training camp doesn't really move the needle. However, when that player was just selected as the #1 overall pick in the CFL draft, maybe it means we should look a little closer. On Sunday the Panthers reached an agreement with defensive tackle Linden Gaydosh, who will now get an opportunity to fight for a depth role in Spartanburg.

Lets be clear: There's a reason Gaydosh wasn't selected in the NFL draft, or even offered contract as a UDFA. So despite holding the impressive title of #1 overall pick, keep the expectations measured. It's slim Carolina turned over a stone nobody else did, or found themselves a defensive Victor Cruz, but it's the kind of player Gaydosh is that makes this signing interesting.

Ron Rivera is already impressed with the Canadian rookie, as Joe Person wrote in his article:

"He looked really good. Thought he did some really nice things,"

Without an impressive host of stats or sustained success, he was the workout warrior of the CFL combine. Sure, the measurables themselves don't inspire awe when matched to their NFL equivalents, but there are a few notables. His bench press would have ranked him 3rd in Indianapolis, his broad jump was three inches behind Sharrif Floyd, and his vertical was up there with athletic freak Ziggy Ansah. If you want a true representation of Gaydosh, he was the CFL's Margus Hunt -- the player who caught everyone's eye, and became the talk of the combine.

All of this is for naught if he can't play, and it's here were things get a little more shaky. When looking at Gaydosh's college stats in Calgary, there's nothing to write home about.

Year Tackles TFL* Sacks
2012 12 2.5 1.0
2011 30.5 7.5 4.0
2010 38 n/a 1.0
2009 10 n/a 0.0

* Tackle for loss stats not available before 2011.

All we know about Gaydosh is that he's athletic, and that he's a former All-Canadian. It was enough to get him selected with the first overall pick in the CFL draft, but moreover represents a paradigm shift in the Panthers' front office. In years past a guy like this wouldn't get a call, but now there are opportunities for players who are instinctive, and can be coached -- especially if they have the measurables to back it up.

Getting an invite to Spartanburg was a boon in itself, and show that he impressed coaches enough to get a bigger stage. There's a good chance he could stick on the practice squad, given the weakness of Carolina's defensive tackle depth -- and could go further if he proves to be coachable. He'll be a player to watch.

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