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Rookie camp set to kick off

Posted May 10, 2012

CHARLOTTE – Panthers coaches can't wait to see their seven draft picks at the team's rookie minicamp this weekend, but they could actually get to see around nine times that many players in action.

Nearly 60 players are expected to take part in the three-day camp that kicks off Friday: the seven draft picks, 12 undrafted rookie free agents, five veterans relatively speaking who don't have an accrued NFL season, and 32 players essentially trying out for the team.

"This gives us an opportunity to see what these guys are capable of," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said. "It will give us a chance to observe our draft picks, to see how they are and where they are, and to see how they pick up our basic fundamentals. We'll also get to watch our guys from last year that are eligible, to see how they're progressing.

"We'll also get an opportunity to see our rookie free agents that we signed coming out of the draft, as well as a group of guys who are trying out that we're going to see if maybe they can help us out eventually."

First and foremost, the coaching staff is excited about seeing the fruits of their draft-related labor: linebacker Luke Kuechly, guard Amini Silatolu, defensive end Frank Alexander, wide receiver Joe Adams, cornerback Josh Norman, punter Brad Nortman and safety D.J. Campbell.

Panthers participating because they have less than a year of NFL experience include safety Jonathan Nelson – who intercepted a pass against Tampa Bay late last year – two players who spent time on the Panthers' practice squad last season in tight end Greg Smith and safety Reggie Sullivan, and two players signed in the offseason in wide receiver Chris Manno and kicker Justin Medlock.

The 12 undrafted rookie free agents include a pair of players many expected to be drafted in Tennessee running back Tauren Poole and Brigham Young offensive tackle Matt Reynolds.

One thing missing from those groups? Someone to throw the ball.

"But what we will have is a couple of guys who have been in NFL camps, one that has been with us before," Rivera said. "We're pretty excited about it."

The tryout players include a pair of quarterbacks in Dalton Bell and Jarrett Brown. The Panthers signed Bell as an undrafted rookie free agent out of West Texas A&M in 2007, and he's been in the Canadian Football League since 2008. Brown, who played collegiately at West Virginia, has spent time the past two seasons on practice squads with the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts.

TRYOUT PLAYERS
Pos Name Ht Wt Age Exp College Hometown
DE C.J. Ah You 6-4 265 29 4 Oklahoma Highland, Utah
LB Will Andrews 6-0 228 23 R Montana State Northern Sandpoint, Idaho
LB Mike Asiedu 6-3 221 21 R Wesley College Yonkers, N.Y.
WR Michael Avila 5-9 170 23 R San Jose State Seaside, Calif.
CB Anthony Barnes 6-1 194 24 2 Norfolk State Virginia Beach, Va.
QB Dalton Bell 6-2 207 29 1 West Texas A&M Canyon, Texas
QB Jarrett Brown 6-3 225 24 1 West Virginia West Palm Beach, Fla.
DE Kenneth Charles 6-3 266 23 1 Stephen F. Austin Missouri City, Texas
DT Landon Cohen 6-3 300 25 4 Ohio Spartanburg, S.C.
C Jon Cooper 6-2 291 25 3 Oklahoma Fort Collins, Colo.
S Jon Corto 6-1 212 27 5 Sacred Heart Orchard Park, N.Y.
RB James Davis 5-11 218 26 3 Clemson Atlanta, Ga.
LB Brandon Denson 5-11 230 24 1 Michigan State Willow Run, Mich.
G Terence Edge 6-2 295 23 R Alabama-Birmingham Atlanta, Ga.
WR Dominique Edison 6-2 201 25 2 Stephen F. Austin San Augustine, Texas
S Dominique Harris 6-2 213 25 1 Temple Washington, D.C.
T Aaron Jones 6-4 360 24 1 Holy Cross Springfield, Ohio
FB Ben Jorden 6-2 250 24 R Appalachian State Charlotte, N.C.
FB Ricky Kay 6-3 243 23 1 Central Florida Deltona, Fla.
G William Maxwell 6-1 294 23 R Georgia Southern Quitman, Ga.
C Pat Murray 6-3 316 25 1 Truman State Fort Dodge, Iowa
LB David Nixon 6-3 225 27 4 Brigham Young College Station, Texas
TE Schuylar Oordt 6-7 246 24 1 Northern Iowa Parkersburg, Iowa
CB Romeo Pellum 5-10 179 23 1 Hampton Long Beach, Calif.
DT Carlton Powell 6-3 312 26 1 Virginia Tech Chesapeake, Va.
LS Preston Powers 6-1 258 24 1 Mississippi Collierville, Tenn.
T Andre Ramsey 6-5 322 24 1 Ball State Cordele, Ga.
DE Nick Reed 6-1 248 24 2 Oregon Trabuco Canyon, Calif.
CB Devon Torrence 6-0 190 23 1 Ohio State Canton, Ohio
LB Nick Webb 6-4 245 25 R Weber State Salt Lake City, Utah
G Justin Wells 6-6 318 24 1 St. Augustine Baltimore, Md.
RB Jonathan Williams 6-0 204 23 1 East Carolina Greenville, N.C.

The rookie camp is taking place on the weekend per the Collective Bargaining Agreement because the rookie class is still in school. The camp comes in the midst of Phase Two of offseason workouts, a three-week period that began on April 30 in which coaches can provide individual instruction.

"That's been outstanding," Rivera said. "We've had an opportunity to spend a lot of time with our guys, to do a lot of group and individual work with the offense on one field and the defense on the other. We can see what everybody is retaining and how they're learning. Then in Phase Three, we'll get into the OTAs where we can do some offense against defense, and then we'll finish up with our minicamp."

Phase Three begins May 21, a four-week period that will culminate with a mandatory veteran minicamp June 12-14. Rookies also are allowed to participate.