Rookie Report Card

Panthers fans didn't have to wait long to see the 2010 draft class in action. Several rookies have been forced into prominent roles with mixed results in the first five weeks. Panther Insider's Alex Montgomery breaks down each rookie's performance and assigns him a grade for his showing to date.

WR David Gettis

Gettis is one of the only bright spots on the Panthers' struggling offense. Aside from being a hometown guy (hailing from Cherry Point, NC), Gettis ranks No. 11 among rookies in receptions and No. 10 in receiving yards.

While Gettis has yet to score a TD, he has been much more reliable than Brandon LaFell. So far, he has 10 receptions for 119 yards. On a more talented offense those may be stats for one game, but considering the performance of those around him, the numbers are quite good.

A notable stat for Gettis is that eight of his 10 catches have come after halftime.

Grade: B-plus


DE Greg Hardy
Chuck Burton/AP
DE Greg Hardy

Hardy could turn out to be the gem from this draft class. Lots of teams passed on him initially because of injury issues, but as long as he can stay healthy, Hardy has given fans plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

He had a great training camp and preseason and thus far he has 11 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. His play has been limited in comparison to the other rookies, but it's worth keeping an eye on him when he's in the game.

Grade: B-plus

FS Jordan Pugh

Pugh was not on any highlight reels during training camp or the preseason, but he's certainly doing something right in practice and elsewhere. After posting no defensive stats for the first three games, Pugh scored a few tackles at New Orleans and got the start against Chicago. He tallied four tackles and an INT in that game.

Additionally, Pugh has returned two kicks for 49 yards. He seems to be getting better every week.

Grade: B


WR Brandon LaFell
Al Messerschmidt/Getty
WR Brandon LaFell

LaFell has yet to live up to the hype. After a solid training camp, he has struggled to compete. His five receptions for 83 yards may surprise some fans because it's hard to remember any of his catches outside of a 44-yard reception against Cincinnati.

LaFell has been a non-factor. He's had trouble getting open, and when he does, he can't make a play on the ball. Several times over the past few games the Panthers have called a quick post or out route for LaFell, but he can't seem to haul in the easy passes.

Grade: C-minus

WR Armanti Edwards

The Panthers paid a hefty price to acquire Edwards and fans would like to see the move pay dividends sooner than later.

After being inactive for the first four games, Steve Smith's injury opened the door for Edwards to make his debut. All things considered, he didn't do too bad. He had no catches, but he looked comfortable running the Mountaineer Package.

Grade: C-minus


QB Jimmy Clausen
Scott Cunningham/Getty
QB Jimmy Clausen

Clausen is a polarizing figure. Through the first five games, including three starts, Clausen is 43-of-91 for 454 yards, one TD and three INTs. He's been sacked nine times and has fumbled seven times, though he's only lost two of them.

Clausen's performance against New Orleans gave fans optimism, as he yielded a 90.6 passer rating and threw for 146 yards with one touchdown and no turnovers. But the wheels came off against a reeling Bears team; he finished with a 29.7 passer rating.

Clausen has had opportunities and has not taken advantage of them (see: over the middle to LaFell against Chicago). Clausen doesn't have much to work with, as he has no proven wide receivers, but as the quarterback he has to take responsibility.

Grade: D-plus

DT Andre Neblett, CB Robert McClain, LB Eric Norwood

It was a surprise when Neblett beat the odds and made the team, but he's yet to make a dent in the stat sheet.

McClain looked great in camp and was able to beat out R.J. Stanford. However, his impact has been minimal.

Norwood has looked strong at times and has three tackles. The Panthers' defense, though, has not been nearly as desperate as the offense, so there's been no need to turn to these guys regularly. We'll see how they progress.

Grade: Incomplete



What's the future hold for Carolina's rookie WRs? Discuss in the message boards.




Alex Montgomery is a graduate of Western Carolina University with a degree in Professional Writing. He has worked for the Western Carolinian and his hometown newspaper, the Kernersville News. He currently resides in Charlotte, NC. You can see more of his updates by following him on Twitter.


Panther Insider Top Stories