Panthers eye offensive weapons at Senior Bowl

After the disappointment of losing the NFC Championship began to subside, the Panthers' staff traveled down to Mobile, Alabama to scout the next class of incoming players.

One of the more interesting developments was that TFY Draft Preview confirmed to us that Panthers officials met with UCLA TE Marcedes Lewis early in the week.

The prospect of adding such a dynamic player like 6' 6", 255 lb. Lewis is exciting, since his presence would surely help the team in the passing game, where last season the only weapon was Steve Smith. Having Lewis in the middle of the field would mean less coverage for Smith, who was drawing quadruple coverage at times during the NFC Championship game.

From NFLExperts.com:

Monday Practice Notes: Excellent hands. Made the catch of the day, a one-handed grab against zone coverage that drew some applause from scouts. The best route runner on the field and is strong in his release off the line. Blocking needs some work.

Tuesday Practice Notes: Caught the ball very well, showing terrific natural receiving skills. Blocked much better than advertised, though there is still room for improvement. Was not as quick off the line as one would think.

Wednesday Practice Notes: Again, caught the ball very well. Possesses soft/natural hands. Ran precise routes, sharply getting into breaks. Beat the defense long on one play into the end zone. Displayed better prowess blocking, working to finish the play. Still a little slow off the line which was disappointing.

Staying on the offensive side of the ball, the Panthers also met with Oregon WR Demetrius Williams, Notre Dame WR Maurice Stovall and Virginia Tech RB Cedric Humes.

The 6' 1", 233 lb. Humes seems like the kind of back Carolina would want in their offense.

According to TFY Draft Preview's Scouting report on Humes: "Strong, powerful ball carrier with excellent size\speed numbers. Tough on the inside, keeps his feet moving up the field and breaks tackles. Falls forward when tackled to pick up extra yardage. Effort blocker who controls opponents at the point."

Our scouts also have observed Hume's performance at the senior bowl:

Monday Practice Notes: The powerful back had a good session and found success inside. While not showing speed and he was still able to find some daylight on several of his carries and he did a good show of cutting back.

Tuesday Practice Notes: He continues to run hard even when there isn't much of a hole to run through. He also did a good job most of the time of keeping his pad level down on his carries. Humes also did a solid job in pass blocking. He seemed to show improvement over the first session.

Wednesday Practice Notes: The big back struggled to make yardage after first contact and has to keep his pad level down. In space, he did a good job of beating the defender and displayed a few nice moves. He reminds us somewhat of former Ohio St. back Jonathan Wells.

Thursday Practice Notes: He did a nice job of setting up his blocks and ran well inside during the practice session. He also did a nice job of catching the football out of the backfield.

Analysis: The big bodied back is a hard runner but isn't elusive enough to make defenders miss consistently. Humes rarely broke off any runs over 5-6 yards but he improved over the course of the week in setting up his blockers and also improved in catching the ball of the backfield. He also did a good job in pass protection. Overall, he really didn't standout.

Oregon's Demetrius Williams (6' 2", 191 lbs) could be an interesting addition to the club. He's performed well all week at the Senior Bowl practices, according to our scouts on the scene.

TFY Draft Preview's report on Williams:

"Solid athlete with a good degree of upside potential. Runs well laterally, gets vertical and adjusts to the errant throw. Fluid releasing off the line of scrimmage and immediately gets to top speed. Stays low exiting breaks. Looks the ball in and consistently extends to make the catch away from his frame. Adjusts to the errant throw."

During Senior Bowl practices:

Monday Practice Notes: He was one of the better performers of the session at the position and often beat coverage. Williams, whether he caught the ball inside or outside in the coverage, was able to find open spaces and he did well running after the catch.

Tuesday Practice Notes: Excellent hands and sees the ball in before making fluid movements up the field. Good field presence for the sidelines and coverage. Locates the ball well on errant throws and makes it looks easy.

Wednesday Practice Notes: Best hands of the group. Tucks the ball after the reception and maintains his speed for yards after the catch. Route running is precise which makes him very elusive.

Thursday Practice Notes: As has been the case all week, he was very solid with his footwork in practice drills and he did a nice job catching the ball with good technique.

Analysis: The best receiver in Mobile. Impressed with his hands, route running and overall game. Good body positioning and soft hands.

The other receiver the Panthers spoke with was Notre Dame's Maurice Stovall, a big receiver who could fill the void left by the departure of Muhsin Muhammad. At 6' 5", 222 lbs., Stovall has great size – something Carolina lacks at WR.

During Senior Bowl practices:

Monday Practice Notes: He had a rather non-descript session. Stovall did make a few nice catches in traffic.

Tuesday Practice Notes: Physical off the line and tries to arm-hook the defender to turn him around. Effective getting off the bump and shields the ball from the defender. Does not, however, sell his routes.

Wednesday Practice Notes: Maintained a strong presence in his release off the line and ran better routes. Caught a few passes in traffic but did not stand out.

Thursday Practice Notes: He continued to display good route running and beat the secondary deep on out routes and on a few fades.

Analysis: Very physical off the line and showed some ability in creating separation. Poor route running allowed the cornerbacks to catch up to him. Uses his body to box out the defender.

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