The Carolina Panthers will have 55 total players on the practice field including the five players drafted in the NFL Draft, their undrafted free agent signings and 35 tryout players. These are the things I will be looking for this weekend.
Panthers Still Searching for Punters
The biggest question mark this offseason is who will be named the starting punter after the departure of Brad Nortman in free agency. The Panthers signed two punters prior to the NFL Draft, Michael Palardy and Swayze Waters, however neither has NFL experience. This leaves a wide open competition over the coming months.
The team brought in two more punters for this weekend and both will try to impress the organization enough to earn a contract. Carson Beatty is a local player who grew up in Charlotte, NC before playing for Florida State Seminoles. The other punter, Jamie Keehn, grew up over in Australia before playing for LSU.
Similar to Palardy and Waters, both punters are unknown commodities and all four would appear to have an equal shot of winning the job.
How Will Cash Look at Linebacker?
One of the more talked about undrafted free agent signings, Jeremy Cash, will be taking the field at his new position for the first time. The former ACC Defensive Player of the Year played safety throughout college for Duke. However, the Panthers signed him with the idea of him playing linebacker.
it is a sound thought process as he doesn't have the range to play safety but is quick and played behind the line of scrimmage regularly in college. If he can add a little more muscle to his frame and can learn the position, he has a good chance of making the 53-man roster.
Which Cornerback Will Stand Out?
The toughest training camp battle this offseason may be at cornerback because of the talent the organization has brought over the past few months. This weekend could be a great opportunity for one player to separate himself from the pack.
The Panthers drafted three cornerbacks in the NFL Draft, James Bradberry, Daryl Worley and Zack Sanchez, who are sure to be in the mix for the starting job opposite Bene Benwikere. Now they will all be competing with Robert McClain, who started in the playoffs for this defense but it will be important for these rookies to make a strong impression this weekend.
How Many Players Will Earn Contracts?
The Panthers signed five tryout players to contracts after the rookie mini-camp last season and coincidentally the team currently is five players short of the 90 player maximum at this point in the offseason.
The team will most likely add one of the two punters to their competition and this will leave four spots left for them to add more talent to the roster.
For a full list of the players at the rookie minicamp this weekend, click here.