In fact, who I saw was a player that more closely resembles the previous owner of the Panthers #34 jersey, Deangelo Williams. Artis-Payne is actually 5 pounds lighter than Deangelo Williams, and has an inch more height than he did.
Artis-Payne appeared to be much shiftier than many give him credit for. Frequently on his handoffs he would move laterally in an instant to find the hole. His 5'10 frame allowed him to disappear behind the offensive line for a brief instant, exactly what I saw from Deangelo Williams' first rookie camp many seasons ago. Artis-Payne showed good patience and followed his blockers extremely closely, sometimes resting his forearm on their back to make sure.
Running routes out of the backfield is where Artis-Payne really started to shine. He is a very fluid route runner and adjusts well to the ball, hips turning and hands in perfect position to make the grab. With as many single back sets as the Panthers run, this is a necessary skill if a running back wants to see the field on gamedays.
Because of CBA rules, we won't be able to really dig in and evaluate Artis-Payne until training camp. Because of the no-contact rules it is impossible to see how he responds to that first hit or how he holds up in pass blocking against a blitzing linebacker or safety. So until August, I can only say that Artis-Payne easily passes the eyeball test for a NFL running back.