Roster flexibility key for Panthers during OTAs

The Panthers are trying to ensure they have a versatile group of players on the roster for 2017.

Jeremy Brevard—X02835
May 25

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers’ coaching staff is looking for versatility among players, supplying something that leads to flexibility on the roster.With the final week of organized team activities beginning Monday, it’s one of the areas of evaluation for coach Ron Rivera and his staff. The Panthers know there are pockets of concern along the offensive line and other positions that might warrant retooling.So while OTA drills provide only partial glimpses of what players are capable of doing, it’s also a view into the potential.Rivera said the energy level has remained high, but the retention level is something he’s more than curious about. With the young players, particularly the newcomers, that’s something that is critical at this time of the year.”Some of them were still hesitant,” Rivera said. “Some of them were a little hesitant. … We’ve got young guys who really need a lot of reps.”It’s also about refining fundamentals, and in this regard the coach said there’s good feedback available after the sessions.”I like how they’re really working on their individual techniques,” Rivera said.With this in mind, the plans for some of the players can start to be formulated.For instance, rookie offensive tackle Taylor Moton is among the players displaying solid skills in certain drills. This will give the coaching staff a chance to visualize how Moton, a second-round draft pick, might be used and if he would be suitable for multiple spots along the line depending on needs and injuries.”We have to find out if they have position flexibility,” Rivera said. “We’ve got a number of young guys that have got to fit in with what we’re trying to do. Those young guys have opportunities.”Rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel is among the younger players who said he senses progress and the ability to make an impact.”Very excited to come out here and showcase my talents,” Samuel said. “There’s more to come. I want to get faster. Push myself.”Samuel’s speed easily draws attention. But he wants to make sure it’s clear that there’s more to what he can provide than just a bolt of speed, so that makes the OTAs valuable to him for multiple reasons.”Not just speed, but learning all aspects,” Samuel said.