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Rookie Diary: Jaden Crumedy on the playbook, learning from Derrick Brown and transitioning to the NFL


CHARLOTTE — The Carolina Panthers seven man rookie draft class has experienced a whirlwind over the past two months. Since NFL draft weekend, rookies have moved to Charlotte, gone through rookie minicamp, and started organized team activities (OTAs). Mandatory minicamp is wrapping up this week and training camp will arrive quickly in July.

As the rookie draft class works through their first offseason, each will take time to reflect on their journey to this point and their time in the league thus far. Three rookies will take us along through the end of OTAs and mandatory minicamp, while the rest will take us along through training camp.

Next up is defensive tackle Jaden Crumedy. The Mississippi State alum was drafted by the Panthers in the sixth round (No. 200 overall).

"Draft day, I had my family, my wife, my mom, my brother and my sister-in-law and my nephew and my sister, my other two sister-in-law's as well and my wife's dad and his daughter, and we were all just sitting in the living room, just talking and eating and enjoying each other's time and watching the draft.

"As soon as I got the call, I told everybody just be quiet. I just had chills in my body as soon as I started talking. They said they were the Carolina Panthers and I honestly had a couple of tears come out. It was a great moment and I loved everything about it and I'm just glad to be here.

"I felt like I was arriving to college (coming here). It's the first time you've been somewhere and you're just meeting different people and you'll be around a lot of group of guys, some of the best in the league and you just got to come here and be ready for whatever comes your way and just be prepared to go out there and practice, play good and produce for the team."

The playbook can become a rookie's Bible during that first year. Learning it inside and out can be the difference between an early contributor and someone who gets lost in the waves of the league. Learning it on their own and alongside their teammates, via study groups, flash cards or more, is crucial in the first weeks.

"Two weeks before I came, even before we came in (they sent the playbook). I dived in the first two installs the first when I got it. I looked over and it was some of the stuff that we did at Mississippi State. And I was like, ok, it should be easy to learn and to understand what I had to do. It's different names for the cars and stuff, but as soon as I get it, I'm going to have it down pat for real.

"It comes with philosophy on how the defense or the offense runs and stuff like that. I just draw it out. (There are) circles saying tackle, end and linebackers, stuff like that. Stunts, slants or going straight on in, things like that and then it will have exactly what that position is doing at the bottom; telling you that you are three tech or two or anything like that.

"(Study groups) really were anybody in the lobby or sometimes going to each player's room, just if you want to walk through things or you want to have time to study with them, especially if it's your own position group. It just helps us better understand as a whole and help each other get better."

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When rookies take the field for OTAs and mandatory minicamp, it can be a bit of culture shock for some. But while at Mississippi State, Crumedy went through several coaching changes, training him in adapting quickly to new schemes and styles.

"For some that haven't been playing a lot, they probably will say it's a lot but it's all a part of the game that we do every day. To me it was just like, we do this a lot, like we do a lot of drills. We do a lot of installment plays and things like that. So it just reminded me of being at (Mississippi) State and having the same days that we would have because we did do a lot of drills and stuff in college and we did have difference in styles, and we had to go out and run through it and things like that. And so it really just felt the same to me and that's why I like being in college for six years and being with different coaches.

"It just really helped me to understand how different coaches will be and how I would have to learn different positions or techniques and things like that."

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Once the veterans returned for OTAs, rookies were folded in with not only those from whom they could learn, but those they've long admired as well.

"I knew Derrick Brown already—I didn't know him personally, but I knew who it was already. But I talked to A'Shawn Robinson as well before coming because I got his number, and we were texting and things like that. But, I mean, everybody's family oriented and everybody, they show a real brotherhood in the locker room, and they welcome all of us with open arms. So, I feel like that's been going good. And I feel like, they bring a bit more tempo than college but, it's been going pretty good and I feel like I'm getting the hang of everything very well.

"(Watching Derrick proves) it's there for anybody and all you have to do is just take the opportunity that you get and just go out there and perform the way you should and just push yourself to be better each and every day."

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There's always a welcome to the NFL moment for every rookie. For Crumedy that came not so much from one particular play, but watching those around him and realizing defensive line coach Todd Wash would never let them slack for a single rep.

"Rookie minicamp and OTAs, I was like, I'm for sure in the NFL, these guys are the real deal. Just seeing them on the field, like whenever we had to do team and, just watching them—it was just like I'm really here and I can make a name for myself and do great things here and I'm just ready for it.

"Everybody has their own drills and stuff but the D-line, we go at it for real. Like we go at it crazy. Especially on pass rush days. I didn't expect us to be going that hard. It's not even contact stuff; it's directional and you'll get a little tired but I know it's for the best for us and it's been going pretty good and I feel like it's going to make a great change for us."

View photos of Mississippi St. defensive tackle Jaden Crumedy, drafted by Carolina in the sixth round of the 2024 draft.

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