2013 Panthers minicamp: Impressions from Pat Y

Lance King

ESPN's NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas has some notes from the Panthers camp so far, and there are a few surprises.

The best thing to hear out of minicamp is silence -- on the injury front. Thankfully the Panthers remain healthy at their key positions, and it appears the rookies are already separating themselves from the pack. This could be out of necessity, or perhaps the overhauls in scouting. Maybe it's Dave Gettleman's steadying hand is having an effect.

You can find all Pat's notes here -- but we're focusing on the most interesting.

I'm getting a vibe that rookie Edmund Kugbila will have a shot to beat out veteran Geoff Hangartner at right guard.

Piggy was abysmal last year, so I'm not going to gush too much over this. It's too early to be bullish on Kugbila, but the fact he's getting opportunities is proof positive that he could be a factor this year. We won't know until Spartanburg where he is developmentally, but it's important to remember he's making the same competition jump Amini Silatolu did last year, which resulted in a slow start.

Safety Robert Lester was signed as an undrafted free agent, but it's obvious the Panthers are very high on what he has shown so far. There have been times when Lester has gotten some work with the first team.

This is huge. It's justifiable to be excited about Lester. Whereas Kugbila is competing for a spot with only one real alternate, Lester is working against multiple players fighting for the strong safety job. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- the Panthers are size-obsessed.

D.J. Campbell played well last year, but he's a smaller player. At 6-2, 210 pounds, Lester has near-ideal size to play strong safety. The risks are clear, and prevalent in his scouting report: He takes bad angles, he's not reliable in coverage, and doesn't possess the fluidity to flip his hips -- but he's in an organization intent on coaching up their youth.

Following the 2011 season Lester was projected as a potential early-round pick, provided he showed improvement in these lacking areas. He didn't, which is why we saw him available as a UDFA. If he ends up being able to listen to instruction, and winds up as the answer, this was a great pickup -- and a stroke of luck.

Speaking of Ginn, the Panthers have plenty of options in the return game. But I get the sense that what they ideally would like to do is have Ginn handle both punt and kickoff returns.

Here we go. This move makes it very difficult to justify keeping a spot open for Joe Adams, as well as making it a closer race between Armanti Edwards and Kealoha Pilares.

David Gettis and Lamont Bryant figure to benefit from this news more than anyone. If the intention is to have Ginn handle both duties, it opens up the back end of the WR chart for a pure receiver.

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