Panthers' Rookie Report for Week 7

The Carolina Panthers had seven rookies see significant playing time against the Green Bay Packers in Week 7. Find out how each one performed below!

First Round: Kelvin Benjamin, WR

Stats against Packers: 3 receptions, 61 yards, 1 touchdown

Season Totals: 34 receptions, 477 yards, 5 touchdowns

Analysis: The rookie out of FSU continues to put together an excellent rookie season with his fourth touchdown catch in five games. Every game it seems like he continues to improve and develop a little more. Benjamin has played his way into being one of the top contenders for Rookie of the Year. The thing that has surprised me the most is defenses are focusing more and more on him each game yet he still finds a way to produce. This duo of Cam Newton and Kelvin Benjamin should have a bright future in Carolina for years to come.

 

Second Round: Kony Ealy, DE

Stats against Packers: 1 solo tackle

Season Totals: 5 total tackles

Analysis: This has been an ugly start to Ealy’s NFL career as he has been almost non-existent in games. When the Panthers drafted Ealy, they knew he would be a little bit of a project but he had all the physical tools to be a good pass rusher in the NFL. However, if a team drafts a player in the second round the hope would be that he would have more than one QB hit and two QB hurries, according to Pro Football Focus, through his first six games. It will be interesting to see if he can improve over the second half of the year.

 

Third Round: Trai Turner, OG

Stats against Packers: Start at right guard, left early due to knee and ankle injury

Season Totals: 3 starts at right guard

Analysis: The rookie guard had a strong start to his career and was starting his third straight game at right guard but was not able to finish the game after going down with knee and ankle injuries. Turner has already been ruled for this week’s game against Seattle, according to Panthers.com. This could be a big loss considering since Turner has been inserted into the starting lineup, the offensive line has looked much better. It would not be surprising to see him held out against New Orleans in Week 9, which is on Thursday night, to give him plenty of rest and have him ready for Week 10.

 

Fourth Round: Tre Boston, S

Stats against Packers: 1 solo tackle

Season Totals: 1 solo tackle

Analysis: Tre Boston finally got to make his NFL debut on defense late in the fourth quarter when the team’s had started pulling their starters. As the season progresses it would not be a surprise to see Boston start taking snaps from Roman Harper to keep Harper fresher as well as give the coaching staff an opportunity to see what kind of player they have. The veteran safety is not the long term answer and should be used more as a situational safety at this point in his career and splitting time with Boston.

 

Fifth Round: Bene Benwikere, CB

Stats against Packers: Out due to injury

Season Totals: 8 total tackles, 2 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery

Analysis: The Panthers really need Benwikere back as soon as possible. He is the only player on this roster right now capable of manning the nickel position. This is especially true now that they have released Charles Godfrey. The rookie has been dealing with an ankle injury and has not played since Week 5.

 

Undrafted: Darrin Reaves, RB

Stats against Packers: None

Season Totals: 31 rushing attempts, 76 yards

Analysis: The return of Jonathan Stewart pushed Darrin Reaves down the depth chart to the point where he didn’t see any time in the backfield. Even with the game out of reach, the Panthers turned to Chris Ogbonnaya and not Reaves. This may have been because Reaves was dealing with a calf injury leading up to the game last week and wasn’t completely healthy. The coaching staff probably didn’t want to do any further damage to the injury. It will be interesting to see if he is more involved against Seattle.

 

Undrafted: Philly Brown, WR

Stats against Packers: 2 kickoff returns (27.5 yard average), 2 punt returns (8.5 yard average)

Season Totals: 11 receptions, 113 yards, 22.8 yards per kickoff return, 11.4 yards per punt return

Analysis: Philly Brown suffered a concussion against the Packers and was knocked out of the game early. This opened up an opportunity for Brenton Bersin, who had a solid game against Green Bay. Brown was a bigger factor earlier in the year but he may have been passed on the depth chart by Bersin after this week.

 

Undrafted: David Foucault, T

Stats against Packers: Replaced Byron Bell when he left game due to injury

Season Totals: 2 games at left tackle (zero starts)

Analysis: This was Foucault’s first game seeing extensive playing time, replacing Bell about halfway through the game. The rookie from Montreal did not make a good first impression giving up one sack and two QB hurries, according to Pro Football Focus. If Bell is not able to play on Sunday, the Panthers are going to have to line up tight ends and running backs on that side to help Foucault against a tough Seahawks pass rush.

 

Undrafted: Andrew Norwell, G

Stats against Packers: Replace Trai Turner when he left game due to injury

Season Totals: Played 61 snaps against Packers, first playing time of the season

Analysis: Andrew Norwell replaced another rookie, Trai Turner, at right guard and struggled against the Packers just like the rest of the offensive line. Pro Football Focus gave him a rating of -1.3 but he struggled particularly in run blocking where he was given a rating of -2.3. With the recent call-up of Chris Scott and the possibility of Amini Silatolu returning this week, I would not expect to see Norwell against Seattle unless there was another injury.


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