Short Yardage Shelton

If you want to talk about sleepers, look no further than the Carolina Panthers. The big national news has been that Stephen Davis is not ready to return to action, but bigger things have been brewing on the field that could make Davis' absence an afterthought.

Rookie RB Eric Shelton has been turning heads in practice. At 6' 1", 246 lbs, Shelton is the biggest true running back on the Panthers roster. It's crystal clear why the Panthers selected him with the 54th overall pick in last Spring's NFL draft; goal line situations.

"Eric is a big, strong physical back," Head Coach John Fox said. "That is why we drafted him. He's shown that thus far in our camp. He's a rookie who is learning our system. I like the way he is progressing."

Shelton is often lining up with the first team offense when they practice their goal line offense, and he's been having good success. After all, Shelton does have an impressive resume; he scored 20 touchdowns last season alone for the Louisville Cardinals, and that was with him splitting time with 2 other backs. In a short yardage scrimmage yesterday, Shelton broke through a few times against the first team defense.

"I thought it was good," Fox said of Shelton's performance in the drills. "We've still got a lot of work to do, but they competed hard. That is the number one thing I look at, but I was pleased with what I saw."

If Shelton proves he can produce when it counts, Davis might not have a job to come back to.

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