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Carolina Panthers

Rookie Roundup

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Linebacker Shaq Thompson's speed and athleticism flash during each practice, but it takes time to fully adapt in Carolina's complex defensive scheme. The first-round choice is steadily coming along. The more progress he makes in the playbook and meeting room, the faster he'll be able to play.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Head coach Ron Rivera said wide receiver Devin Funchess is "showing improvement every day, but there is a long way to go." The second-round pick is starting to make more plays during team periods, but the coaches want to see him use his size to his advantage more often. Defensive backs are more physical at the line of scrimmage in the NFL, and it's a challenge Funchess must overcome to make more plays down the field.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: It's all about footwork and technique for offensive tackle Daryl Williams. The fourth-round draft choice has embraced the high standards of offensive line coach John Matsko and is showing signs of growth. Williams is holding his own in one-on-one drills against defensive ends and is beginning to look more comfortable.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The Panthers have a deep group of linebackers, and fifth-round draft choice David Mayo is soaking up all the information he can. Going from Texas State to the NFL is no easy transition, but Mayo trusts his instincts and is proving he belongs.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Running back Cameron Artis-Payne has been one of the early standouts of camp. The second of two fifth-round picks has the looks of a draft-day steal. Fullback Mike Tolbert credited Artis-Payne's patience, and that's a valuable trait, especially for a rookie tailback. He's a fluid runner with catching ability out of the backfield.

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