Here's the players that appear to be on the rise to either a starting position or simply garnering a roster spot:
Mitchell has excelled at playing in the box, flashing his speed in coverage and blitzing the passer. Even though DJ Campbell has not played bad Mitchell has simply looked better and is therefore my front runner as the game 1 starter at strong safety.
Forget what you remember about Clausen from seasons past, the kid has been the most accurate passer in camp to date and I'm not talking about just the short passes. He has thrown the ball well down the field too and doesn't appear to have the happy feet from his dreadful rookie campaign. With Derek Anderson not looking sharp to say the least Clausen might end up #2 on the depth chart by the time the season starts.
WR Ted Ginn
I realize Ginn is known for looking good in camp and then not so much when it counts. So far he has lived up to that first part very well, looking like a solid deep threat who is catching everything thrown his way. Hopefully this is the season he puts it all together. Regardless he is a lock to make the 53 and just might get on the field as a WR early.
WR Joe Adams
First and foremost Adams is fielding punts and kick offs cleanly which is good news obviously. What has him rising though is his WR work which includes running nice routes and displaying good hands. For a guy I assumed would be cut with the acquisition of Ted Ginn I now see him sticking on the 53 man roster, especially if Ginn ends up the #3 WR. Adams is nice insurance for a numebr of positions.
RB Kenjon Barner
Sixth round picks are never locks to make a 53 man roster and given the talent at the position it would seem an uphill battle for the rookie Barner. But as we have stated many times since camp started this kid has serious speed and cutting ability, in particular when catching the ball out of the backfield. He brings a unique skill set that is not present in the other RBs he is competing with so I'm thinking he is now a lock to make the 53.
CB Josh Norman
As rookie Norman was brash and played reckless early in the season only to retreat and provide too much cushion after getting burned by penalties or key receptions. He is still brash but he is also showing an ability to play tight man coverage and disrupt a WR's route. At times Norman looks joined at the hip with the receiver he is covering. I'm not sure it's enough to garner a starting nod over a vet like Drayton Florence but he will certainly make the coaches decision a difficult one.
It's not all roses for every player at training camp. Here are a few that appear to be struggling.
OT Nate Chandler
We knew Chandler would struggle having just changed positions but I was thinking raw strength was his strong suite. Instead he was getting pushed around by smaller players and appeared slow protecting the edge. Chandler is in real danger of not making the 1st cut much less the final 53.
WR David Gettis
I believe a few weeks ago on Cat Scratch Radio I stated I thought this was the year Gettis gets back on the field and produces for the Panthers. Scratch that. Though he appears healed from his injuries, physically Gettis doesn't seem to have the speed and route running I remember as a rookie. Sure he is probably rusty from the long lay off but it's more than that. After seeing how upset he got after simply getting landed on after a play and how he moped around afterward he seems to missing something mentally as well. It's like he is looking over his shoulder to see if the injury bug is following him. With other WRs making the most of their opportunity I now don't see Gettis making the 53.
Cameron has looked the part of rookie QB with questionable arm strength, wobbly passes and poor decisions. We knew his chances were slim to start but given how sharp Clausen has looked this kid will be around for a cup of tea and that is it.
While I agree it's unfair to judge a guy that has been hurt, the fact is if you aren't on the field as a rookie you are falling. Kugbila will go from starting RG hopeful to an after thought if he doesn't return no later than sometime next week. I'm not saying he's going to get cut as that is a little brash this early but I also think he is out of the 'starter' conversation too.
I didn't see a single punt from Gay that I would have called 'a good kick' much less worthy of a starting job in the NFL. He was average at best which isn't going to supplant Brad Nortman no matter how bad Nortman looks at times.
For a 3rd year guy Brown looked stiff and slow. I perish the thought of him protecting Newton's blind side.