CHARLOTTE - Head coach Ron Rivera had positive things to say about Friday's rookie minicamp practices and believes a few tryout players have what it takes to earn a spot on the 90-man roster.
"I was pleased with it. The morning session was an installation period and for the most part, retention was pretty good," Rivera said. "Real pleased with the five draft picks – I thought those guys showed very nicely. Tomorrow will be a real big test to see how they are handling conditioning and recall. Fatigue tends to change some things, so we'll find out.
"We're looking at a couple (open) spots, so we are most certainly going to sign some players from this group."
Players who caught his eye: "There were a few guys that really did (catch my eye). You have to really study those guys when we get a chance to watch the tape. A couple offensive linemen did catch our attention. There are some linebackers we like. We'll take a look at that too, because we've got to sign one. Safeties – we have to determine if we want to sign one of them as well. And the wide receiver position. There a couple young men we want to take an extra look at."
Why WR Keyarris Garrett wasn't drafted: "I'm surprised. I got messages, emails, phone calls telling us we got a steal, that this guy should have been drafted. Kind of in the vein of Philly Brown a couple years ago. He didn't get drafted, and we were fortunate enough to sign him as a (priority free agent) and it worked out very nicely."
On punters: "They hit some good balls but a little inconsistent. We'll see if we can see some consistency. You can't hit a 65-yarder and the next thing you know, i'ts 35 yards with a three-second hang time. You just can't have that."
On working with LB Jeremy Cash: "It's about playing with technique now. He was a much better athlete than some of the people he played against. He relied on his athleticism. He's going to have to learn to rely on his technique. He just has to learn to use his footwork and put himself in good power position when he has to take on blockers."
On three drafted corners: "I think those three guys really have an opportunity to impact us this year. I was really pleased with the movement and skills they showed. It's really about watching the drills they're doing with Coach (Steve) Wilks. Steve really stresses technique and angles. You have to really pay attention to those types of things when you watch Steve work with those DBs. I thought they looked really good today. We have to make sure these guys are ready to roll."
On clean slate at cornerback: "I think competition is going to be real important. You of course have to account for Bene (Benwikere). He's not ready right now, unfortunately, because of the ankle break. Hopefully, he'll be ready later on. As we go into training camp, I think the one guy who has got an edge because of experience is Bene."
On GM Dave Gettleman being out due to knee surgery: "When I get done watching tape, he and I will talk on the phone. I'll give him the names of the guys the coaches are high on right now, and when he gets in tomorrow, he'll take time to evaluate those guys. If there is anybody else that catches his eye, he'll let me know as we go into practice."
View photos of the 2016 rookie class as they participate in drills on the first day of minicamp.