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Jeremy Igo

Top 3 Panthers Camp Sleepers of 2015

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The Carolina Panthers Training Camp last season introduced us to guys like Andrew Norwell and Corey Brown. Two undrafted free agents who ended up making major contributions to the playoff run of 2015. 

So who will be the sleepers this season? Well, here are my best pre-camp guesses.....

 

1. Damiere Byrd - WR South Carolina

While small in stature, Byrd has the physical gifts that the Panthers need, namely pure speed. During OTA's, Byrd connected with the Panthers backup quarterbacks for multiple long bomb touchdowns. This local kid has what it takes to shine in camp this year if given the opportunity. Given the uncertain future of Stephen Hill and his recent transgression, Byrd may just get that chance. 

2. Lee Ward - FB Stanford

I love me some Lee Ward. A bruising throwback fullback who punished his opponent as he lays waste. While not the most glamorous or highlight generating position, the pure blocking fullback is something I would love to see added to the Panthers arsenal. He would also aid in protecting Cam Newton given the unknown skill level of the Panthers 2015 left tackle Michael Oher. 

3. Dean Marlowe - S  James Madison

You haven't read much about Marlowe until now, but that could quickly change. If there is one position on the Panthers roster that an immediate impact could be made, it would be Safety. Marlowe saw plenty of snaps in OTA's and looked sharp. If he can also contribute in Special Teams he may be able to carve out a roster spot. Not an easy accomplishment for an undrafted free agent on this Panthers squad. 

 

So there are the top 3 young guys I am hoping can make an impact. Who are yours? 


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  • Pie 4

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What about the DB from Clemson? Think he can beat out White or Houston for one of the last roster spots at CB?

Didn't play one single snap in OTAs due to injury. 

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Kony Ealy will step his game up this year.

Artis-Payne (because well, RBs always look good in TC)

I expect Mayo to look good.  How could he possibly screw this up?  He's learning from the best tandem in football.

 

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Agree 1,000% on Ward and Marlowe. Some were surprised that Marlowe didn't get drafted.

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Kony Ealy will step his game up this year.

Artis-Payne (because well, RBs always look good in TC)

I expect Mayo to look good.  How could he possibly screw this up?  He's learning from the best tandem in football.

 

Bigger impact in 2015, Mayo or Shaq?

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Bigger impact in 2015, Mayo or Shaq?

I think Mayo's impact on Special Teams will be underrated.  I think Shaq will have the bigger impact all in all, but I think it will be minimal at best.  

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I think I’d like to see Byrd win the KR spot, with Lee replacing Brockel, and as far as Marlowe is concerned I can live with Harper, and Coleman splitting duties at strong safety, while Marlowe develops on the PS.

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In case it's helpful, here's a table with all the rookies and the players with < 2 years experience.  Players highlighted in bold are Carolina Draft Picks.

 Rookies & 2nd Year Players    30-Jul-15
        
NoNamePosHtWtAgeExpCollege
34Artis-Payne, CameronRB5'10220250Auburn
50Blechen, BrianLB6'2225230Utah
18Byrd, DamiereWR5'9175220South Carolina
17Funchess, DevinWR6'4225210Michigan
29Marlowe, DeanS6'1205230James Madison
55Mayo, DavidLB6'2240210Texas St.
71Miley, ArthurDE6'6265220Southern
76Miller, SteveDE6'3260230Ohio State
26Peters, GarryCB6'0200230Clemson
62Redden, TerryDT6'2295210Memphis
54Thompson, ShaqLB6'0230210Washington
46Ward, LeeFB5'11250230Stanford
32Wegher, BrandonRB5'10215240Morningside 
60Williams, DarylT6'6335220Oklahoma
65Alecxih, ChasDT6'4295261Pittsburgh
37Byndom, CarringtonCB6'0180231Texas
85Childers, JamieTE6'4250271Coastal Carolina
77Cox, RakimDE6'4260241Villanova
83Lucas, MarcusWR6'4235231Missouri
62McCray, JordanG6'3320231Central Florida
10Presley, De'AndreWR5'10190251Appalach St.
72Regis, MicanorDT6'3330251Miami (Fla.)
80Simonson, ScottTE6'5250231Assumption
22Young, LouCB6'1205231Georgia Tech
39Ball, MarcusS6'1220282Memphis
13Benjamin, KelvinWR6'5245242Florida St.
25Benwikere, BeneCB6'0195232San Jose St.
11Bersin, BrentonWR6'3210252Wofford
33Boston, TreS6'1210232North Carolina
16Brown, CoreyWR5'11185232Ohio State
94Ealy, KonyDE6'4275232Missouri
63Foucault, DavidT6'8320262Montreal
57Glanton, AdariusLB6'1230242Florida Atlantic
68Norwell, AndrewG6'6325232Ohio State
52Reddick, KevinLB6'1240252North Carolina
70Turner, TraiG6'3320222LSU
 Wallace, DavonteT6'3315232New Mexico St
77Wallace, MartinT6'6330252Temple

 

  • Pie 7

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Im honestly excited to see Glanton step up, he looked fast....REALLY fast in games last year.  Interested to see him learn a bit more and contribute.

  • Pie 4

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a player I really like is Brian Blechen from Utah.  He has all the tools for a special teams ace.  I see him as a backup to Thompson and the possible "heir apparent"  to one of the OLB spots in 2-3 years.  He is raw, developing, and learning the position, and the LB competition is fierce, but I see him finding a spot on the PS in the worst case scenario. 

I love Marlowe too, by the way.  I would not be surprised to see him on the roster.

  Byrd has a decent chance due to his skill set and his last name begins with "B" something that seems to be a requirement, with the exception of Funchess.  All your WRs can't be tall and lanky (Benjamin, Funchess, Bersin).  Brown and Byrd could be awesome in the slot.

Notice I did not mention Ginn.  I am not sure he sees much time as a WR.  Where/when do you play him?   I think there are 3 right now better (Benji, Fuch, Brown).  With Bersin and Brown coming on strong, do you block their development by giving snaps to a 30-year old poor man's Devin Hester? 

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