Panthers ready for rookie minicamp

CHARLOTTE – Head coach Ron Rivera can't wait to see the Panthers' draft picks on the practice field – especially their first-round pick – when the team's two-day rookie minicamp begins Friday.

"I'm real excited because it's an opportunity to watch our five draft picks and see what they're all about, see how they handle things so we can start projecting where we think they'll fit," Rivera said. "Shaq unfortunately will have to go back, so we're going to really have to focus in on him for two days."

Linebacker Shaq Thompson, the No. 25 overall pick in last week's draft, will return to the University of Washington for about a month after the minicamp to finish classes. But Thompson, along with wide receiver Devin Funchess (second round), offensive tackle Daryl Williams (fourth round), linebacker David Mayo (fifth round) and running back Cameron Artis-Payne (fifth round) will make their debuts in Panthers gear Friday and Saturday.

They won't be alone.

All told, 54 players will to take part in the minicamp, including 10 undrafted rookie free agents, 35 invited tryout players and four qualifying veterans.

DTChas Alecxih
Lancaster, Pa.
GZach Allen6-2328241N.C. StateTifton, Ga.
SC.J. Barnett
6-0204241Ohio StateDayton, Ohio
LBJamie Blatnick
6-3263251Oklahoma StateCelina, Texas
OTDaniel Blitch
Clermont, Ga.
QBChris Bonner6-623721RColorado State-Pueblo
San Diego, Calif.
SDetrick Bonner6-020623RVirginia Tech
McDonough, Ga.
LBXavius Boyd
6-2239241Western Kentucky
St. Petersburg, Fla.
WRAvius Capers
5-920022RJohnson C. SmithCharlotte, N.C.
TEJamie Childers
6-4250261Coastal Carolina
Mount Pleasant, S.C.
LSCharlie Coggins
6-121823REast Carolina
Albemarle, N.C.
DERakim Cox
6-4268241VillanovaSan Diego, Calif.
OTAnthony Dima
Centereach, N.Y.
LSGrant Donovan
Louisville, Ky.
LBJake Doughty6-0239231Utah StateDraper, Utah
TDevin Flowers6-232021RSouth Carolina StateCharlotte, N.C.
GJosh Hendershot
Newark, Ohio
QBCole Jaeschke6-121623RUpper IowaMoorland, Iowa
WRMatt James6-521123RWake Forest
Raleigh, N.C.
WRJustin Kenyon
Chapel Hill, N.C.
GJordan McCray
6-3322221Central FloridaMiami, Fla.
DTTroy Moore
6-229123RSacred Heart
Worcester, Mass.
TKyle Nunn6-5294261South CarolinaSumter, S.C.
CRonald Patrick
6-1308231South Carolina
Cocoa, Fla.
CBryce Redman
Longview, Texas
LBEtienne Sabino
6-2247241Ohio StateNorth Miami Beach, Fla.
RBRicky Seale5-920323RStanfordEscondido, Calif.
CBJordan Sullen
New Orleans, La.
TEZachary Swanson
Katy, Texas
CBCorey Trim
5-1017422RLouisiana LafayetteBaton Rouge, La.
GIsaiah Tuiasosopo
6-231621RAustin Peay
Pago Pago, Amer. Samoa
TEDallas Walker
6-5231271Western Michigan
Madison, Miss.
FBLee Ward
5-1124623RStanfordChesterfield, Mo.
CBRyan White
5-10197231AuburnTallahassee, Fla.
DEJovontay Williams
6-225825RJohnson C. SmithStone Mountain, Ga.

"There are some undrafted free agents that we really want to take a good, long look at," Rivera said of the group, which includes Clemson cornerback Garry Peters and James Madison safety Dean Marlowe. "There's a safety and a corner that were priority free agents for us that we went out and really made a big push to bring here. They agreed to come here, so I'm excited to see them."

Four players who were on the Panthers' practice squad last season – wide receiver Marcus Lucas, tight end Kevin Greene, safety Kimario McFadden and cornerback Lou Young – are eligible to participate in the minicamp.

The majority of the minicamp roster will consist of the invited tryout players. Last season, five of the 35 tryout players eventually spent some time on the 90-man roster, and offensive tackle David Foucault and defensive tackle Micanor Regis are still on it. The 90-man roster currently has four open spots.

"Last season we had at least 22 rookies and first-year players who were involved with our roster – about 15 who were directly on the 53-man roster and nine who started for us at one time or another," Rivera said. "You have to create opportunities, and that's what we're doing right now."

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