Week two of Carolina Panthers OTA practices has given us our first look at second round wide receiver Curtis Samuel along side the Panthers starters. Samuel clearly was a stand out in rookie camp weeks ago, could he continue to impress in such a manner? At least one player thinks so.
I asked third year receiver Devin Funchess what Samuel’s first impression was, player to player. “First day, he is electric” Devin Funchess told me. “Just like I watched him at Ohio State. He just has to put it all together. I am out there making sure he knows all the plays.”
There is a lot of talk surrounding Samuel’s speed and how the Carolina Panthers could best use it. However, I think limiting the talk to that one particular aspect may not be painting the most accurate picture of his game. To my eyes, Samuel has balance and footing similar to a former Panthers receiver that wore number 89. Like 89, Samuel appears to have that strange balance that gives him the advantage over defenders. At times it is like there is an invisible rope, keeping him on his feet.
Panthers corner Teddy Williams learned this first hand today when trying to press Samuel. It was Williams who ended up on the ground, not the rookie.
I don’t know if he can or will produce like 89 did, but the similarities in physical ability are undeniable, at least to my eyes.
Of course, Samuel is a rookie and mistakes will be made. Today he dropped a quick pass to the outside near the line of scrimmage (tell me, who used to get those passes frequently? ). The pass may have actually been behind the line of scrimmage, in which case the Panthers defense came up with the fumble. Growing pains can be expected. But according to Funchess, it will be worth it.
“He has a high ceiling.” Funchess said. “Once he learns how to slow the game down, he has a high ceiling.”
High ceiling, high praise, high hopes. So far so good for Curtis Samuel.