Rookie Report: Forecast

With only six games left in the regular season, the Carolina Panthers' rookies are all looking to make statements. While some build on previous success, others need to lay the foundation for the future.

WR David Gettis

Clearly the favorite for the "Rookie of the Year" honor for the 2010 Panthers, Gettis has caught 25 passes for 400 yards and three TDs. He's also had at least two receptions in eight of the nine games he's played in.

Gettis has stepped up in crucial situations, especially against the San Francisco 49ers, when he hauled in two TDs. His 80-yard TD reception against the Baltimore Ravens also kept the Panthers competitive until the end of the game.

Barring any surprise offseason developments, Gettis should walk into training camp next year as the No. 2 receiver on the depth chart. He will want to improve his play on the road, as only one-fifth of his receptions have come away from home and he's yet to score a touchdown outside of Bank of America Stadium.

SS Jordan Pugh

SS Jordan Pugh
Joe Robbins/Getty
Pugh, like Gettis, has been used in his primary position and on special teams. As a safety, Pugh has 11 tackles and one interception. He's spent time both as a backup and a starter.

Pugh has also found much success in the return game. He's returned eight kicks for 199 yards and has been a pleasant surprise to a team that initially struggled to find a reliable return man.

Pugh has plenty of time to improve on his defensive game and a veteran secondary to learn from. As long as he remains a dual threat on defense and special teams, the Panthers will be glad to hang onto him.

QB Jimmy Clausen

Clausen's play has been questionable, but fans have not given up on him yet. The coaches certainly haven't, either. So far, Clausen has completed 67 of 138 passes for 692 yards, one TD and four INTs.

Clausen must develop consistency. His passer ratings for each game look like a volatile stock market: 39, 33, 53, 90, 29, 28 and 75. He's done well managing the game a couple of times, but his worst games were near disastrous.

It looks like he's improved on some of his nagging mechanical issues like handling snaps and low-lining passes, but now he's got to start putting up the numbers. Either way, the Panthers will probably make a move in the offseason.

DE Greg Hardy

DE Greg Hardy
Streeter Lecka/Getty
Hardy has the most raw potential of all the rookiess. He's chalked up 17 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble. He is frequently noted by his teammates for his hard work and athletic ability.

The advantage Hardy has over some of the rookie starters on offense is he is getting a chance to learn about his position from veterans like Tyler Brayton and Charles Johnson. Also, it seems that about once a game Hardy gets involved in a shoving match with a member of the opposing team, showing he's fired up and emotional even in limited action.

Hardy is in a good situation now in that he's super talented but still able to mature by watching and learning instead of being thrown into the action on every play. Look for Hardy to stay consistent throughout the season, and with some hard work in the offseason, Panthers fans could be looking at a breakout star at defensive end in 2011.

WR Armanti Edwards

Edwards has been a project from Day One. The conversion from college QB to NFL wideout can be successful with the right personnel, but Edwards is having trouble thus far. Bottom line: Edwards has 7 yards on one rush for the entire season.

Edwards should consider dressing for the final six games to be a moderate success, considering he's hardly been active. While same fans are calling for Edwards to get a shot at running the offense, the fact remains that up until a few weeks ago, Edwards had not taken a snap under center since high school. He has not taken the meaningful snaps at quarterback in practice and seems to only be prepared for the Mountaineer formation for maybe one series during a game.

The coaches remain adamant in saying that Edwards was drafted as a wideout/punt returner. If Edwards sees extended game action toward the end of the season, it will be a great improvement and will go a long way in showing coaches and fans what he's capable of in the NFL.

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.

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