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Found 5 results

  1. Coming into rookie camp I was admittedly fairly unfamiliar with Cameron Artis-Payne, one of the fifth round selections by the Carolina Panthers in the NFL Draft. I had read a bit about him in the media and saw things that called him a "bowling ball" and compared him to Mike Tolbert. So when I arrived at camp, I was shocked to find out that he was none of those things. 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.
  2. Today I had the opportunity to get a look at the newest Panthers wide receiver, second rounder Devin Funchess, at Panthers rookie camp. Devin strolled into his first practice as a NFL player like he had been there before, having some fun with NC State guard Zach Allen. Lots of comparisons will be made between Kelvin Benjamin and Funchess this season, but right away it was clear to me these are two completely different receivers. Funchess is much more fluid in his movements, relies less on his height to achieve his objective. He runs more like smaller slot receiver. There were no team drills today, so my observations are limited to positional drills. I can tell you that Funchess caught every catchable ball that came his way, sometimes in athletic fashion. (More about that in All-Pro). His eyes in all of my shots of him are clearly fixated on the ball, a skill that other more experienced players on the roster still have trouble with. Overall, and yes I know this is early, I can definitely see Funchess as the opening day #2 receiver. But you know what? Here is the shocker.... I could see him as an eventual number one as well with Kelvin Benjamin being the second receiver. Funchess looks every bit as good at this rookie camp as Kelvin did last year at his. There is still a long way to go, but this initial look was very encouraging.
  3. Here are some general thoughts and musings on how day one of the Carolina Panthers 2015 rookie camp went down in no particular order... Yes, Devin Funchess appears to be worth that first round grade Dave Gettleman tagged him at. I understand why people want to compare him to Kelvin, but when they see him on the field they won't ever again. He is much more of an athlete than Kelvin is. I don't mean that as a knock on Kelvin at all. Benjamin uses his size and length as his main weapon while Funchess appears to use his legs. He is sneaky quick. Funchess and Benjamin are two completely different types of receivers. Devin caught everything that was catchable in the team drills. A few balls were very poorly thrown, and somehow he was still able to get a hand on them, a major accomplishment in itself. I was actually more impressed with David Mayo than Shaq Thompson as far as the linebackers go. Of course, Mayo stayed mainly at the middle linebacker spot where he is most comfortable. Shaq definitely has more of a learning curve ahead of him in the Panthers defense. Mayo didn't have a perfect day and did get burned in coverage a couple of times, which is concerning. Still, I feel he had the better performance of the two. Unfortunate Shaq could not get in on the team drills due to injury. Maybe that is where he would shine. Damiere Byrd had the best play of the day, a gorgeous one handed grab over Corey Trim. I really like this Byrd kid and am excited to see more of what he can do in camp. UDFA Garry Peters out of Clemson also looks like he could push for a roster spot early. He made more than one really nice play on the ball and a nice strip on a ball that would have been a touchdown. Keep an eye on this, he could change the roster up a bit. Daryl Williams so far looks to be a real keeper. Its funny how obvious a true tackle is to spot now that we haven't seen one in a while. This kid has a future. Compared to the performance of David Foucault last year, he already looks like a 3 year veteran. Not sure why people say Cameron Artis-Payne is a "bowling ball" or is compared to Tolbert. He looks and plays nothing like Tolbert. Truth be known, his performance today reminded me of the first day of the old #34 back when he was second string to Desean Foster. His game resembles Deangelo's much more than Tolbert's. He had a few really nice quick shifts at the line today and found the hole quickly. That was encouraging. The quarterbacks this year have been.... bad. I mean.... really bad. I feel sorry for the receivers trying to make a name for themselves on such little opportunity to begin with, much less the fact that the ball is no where near them.
  4. Here are some general thoughts and musings on how day one of the Carolina Panthers 2015 rookie camp went down in no particular order... Yes, Devin Funchess appears to be worth that first round grade Dave Gettleman tagged him at. I understand why people want to compare him to Kelvin, but when they see him on the field they won't ever again. He is much more of an athlete than Kelvin is. I don't mean that as a knock on Kelvin at all. Benjamin uses his size and length as his main weapon while Funchess appears to use his legs. He is sneaky quick. Funchess and Benjamin are two completely different types of receivers. Devin caught everything that was catchable in the team drills. A few balls were very poorly thrown, and somehow he was still able to get a hand on them, a major accomplishment in itself. I was actually more impressed with David Mayo than Shaq Thompson as far as the linebackers go. Of course, Mayo stayed mainly at the middle linebacker spot where he is most comfortable. Shaq definitely has more of a learning curve ahead of him in the Panthers defense. Mayo didn't have a perfect day and did get burned in coverage a couple of times, which is concerning. Still, I feel he had the better performance of the two. Unfortunate Shaq could not get in on the team drills due to injury. Maybe that is where he would shine. Damiere Byrd had the best play of the day, a gorgeous one handed grab over Corey Trim. I really like this Byrd kid and am excited to see more of what he can do in camp. UDFA Garry Peters out of Clemson also looks like he could push for a roster spot early. He made more than one really nice play on the ball and a nice strip on a ball that would have been a touchdown. Keep an eye on this, he could change the roster up a bit. Daryl Williams so far looks to be a real keeper. Its funny how obvious a true tackle is to spot now that we haven't seen one in a while. This kid has a future. Compared to the performance of David Foucault last year, he already looks like a 3 year veteran. Not sure why people say Cameron Artis-Payne is a "bowling ball" or is compared to Tolbert. He looks and plays nothing like Tolbert. Truth be known, his performance today reminded me of the first day of the old #34 back when he was second string to Desean Foster. His game resembles Deangelo's much more than Tolbert's. He had a few really nice quick shifts at the line today and found the hole quickly. That was encouraging. The quarterbacks this year have been.... bad. I mean.... really bad. I feel sorry for the receivers trying to make a name for themselves on such little opportunity to begin with, much less the fact that the ball is no where near them. View full article
  5. Today I had the opportunity to get a look at the newest Panthers wide receiver, second rounder Devin Funchess, at Panthers rookie camp. Devin strolled into his first practice as a NFL player like he had been there before, having some fun with NC State guard Zach Allen. Lots of comparisons will be made between Kelvin Benjamin and Funchess this season, but right away it was clear to me these are two completely different receivers. Funchess is much more fluid in his movements, relies less on his height to achieve his objective. He runs more like smaller slot receiver. There were no team drills today, so my observations are limited to positional drills. I can tell you that Funchess caught every catchable ball that came his way, sometimes in athletic fashion. (More about that in All-Pro). His eyes in all of my shots of him are clearly fixated on the ball, a skill that other more experienced players on the roster still have trouble with. Overall, and yes I know this is early, I can definitely see Funchess as the opening day #2 receiver. But you know what? Here is the shocker.... I could see him as an eventual number one as well with Kelvin Benjamin being the second receiver. Funchess looks every bit as good at this rookie camp as Kelvin did last year at his. There is still a long way to go, but this initial look was very encouraging. View full article
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