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Minicamp notebook: Rookies on display

Posted Apr 30, 2010

ROOKIE SHOW: The Panthers' 2010 draft class assembled together on the field for the first time Friday morning. Much of the attention focused on top-draft choice Jimmy Clausen and local product Armanti Edwards. Both players had their ups and downs during their first NFL workout.

Clausen, who started at quarterback all three of his seasons at Notre Dame, found himself third on Carolina's depth chart behind Matt Moore and Hunter Cantwell and ahead of fellow-rookie Tony Pike, the third of the team's three sixth-round draft choices from Cincinnati. Clausen threw the ball well but admits he has a lot to learn even though he played in a similar offensive system in college.

"I'm just trying to come in and learn as much as I can," Clausen said. "A lot of things are getting thrown at myself and Tony, being rookies. (I'm) just trying to grasp everything that they're saying and going out on the field and executing it."

Head coach John Fox said, "He's a sharp guy. He's picked things up very fast. He's sharp in football, and I think that's key at the quarterback position. He's swimming right now. It's still new, new guys. You have to get a feel for everybody, and I thought he handled it well."

Edwards' transition to the NFL is a little different. After starting at quarterback for four seasons at Appalachian State, the athletic Edwards is moving to wide receiver on the pro level in addition to returning punts. Edwards analyzed his first practice by saying that he did fairly well lining up at the correct position and running the correct routes but that his route running needs a lot of improvement and he is still getting used to fielding punts.

"It's the first day that I'm out here playing a new position, so (I'll) just take this day and (move on to) practice number two and work at something else better," Edwards said.

Veteran wide receiver Steve Smith, who Edwards has already leaned on for advice, said that playing quarterback in college will probably make the transition to wide receiver easier. "Going from a quarterback to a wide out, it may be not as hard as people think because the quarterback has the responsibility to know where everyone is on the field," he said. "Now, he only has to focus on being the wide out. He doesn't have as many tasks as a wide receiver that a quarterback generally has. So I don't think it's going to be that much harder or a huge task."

GROCERY BOY: Before leaving his home outside of Los Angeles to come to Charlotte for minicamp, Clausen received his first rookie assignment. Smith sent Clausen a text one morning this past week telling him to bring a 12-pack of Cactus Cooler with him to Carolina. Cactus Cooler is an orange-pineapple soft drink sold mainly in Southern California and the Southwestern United States. Smith, like Clausen, is from the Los Angeles area.

"I had to sneak that on the plane to bring it to him," Clausen said. "But it got here safely."

Smith was happy with the quarterback's first completion to him. "He came through as a nice rook."

WELCOME BACK: As many new faces dotted the practice fields, the return of a veteran Thomas Davis was a pleasant surprise. The weakside linebacker took part in practice, making a quick recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee suffered midway through last season in a game at New Orleans. Up until the injury, Davis was having the best season of his five-year career with 71 tackles, 1.5 sacks and two interceptions.

"He's worked very hard rehabbing this offseason," head coach John Fox said. "It was unfortunate that he was injured last year, because I thought he was having his best season to date. But he's battled back real hard, and I think we'll lean on him for leadership as well as his playing ability."

SIDELINED: While Davis was back on the field, a number of others watched from the sideline as they continued to recover from injuries suffered last season or offseason surgeries. Players who did not participate for health reasons included: defensive end Tyler Brayton, guard C.J. Davis, tackle Jordan Gross, tackle Jeff Otah, tight end Dante Rosario, running back Jonathan Stewart, defensive tackle Tank Tyler and running back DeAngelo Williams.

MARSHALL MISSING: Cornerback Richard Marshall was the only player not in attendance. The restricted free agent has not yet signed his tender offer from the Panthers, and therefore he is not under contract.

"I'd rather he be here. That's why we like to practice," Fox said. "But I understand it and I know Richard is working hard. He's talked to a lot of his teammates, so we'll see him when he gets here."

Second-year pro Captain Munnerlyn lined up at cornerback opposite Chris Gamble in place of the absent Marshall.

ROSTER MOVE: The Panthers added another undrafted rookie free agent to the roster prior to Friday morning's practice, signing wide receiver Trent Guy (5-foot-8, 171 pounds) from Louisville. He played in 12 games as a senior in 2009 and led the Cardinals with 1,474 all-purpose yards: 92 rushing yards on six carries, 329 receiving yards on 18 catches with two touchdowns, 139 punt return yards on six returns with one touchdown, and 914 kickoff return yards on 37 returns. Guy attended West Charlotte High School.