Carolina Panthers Undrafted Free Agents: Tracking the Latest Signings

Knox BardeenNFC South Lead WriterApril 28, 2013

Carolina Panthers Undrafted Free Agents: Tracking the Latest Signings

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    It was far too easy to run on the Carolina Panthers during the 2012 season.

    So new general manager Dave Gettleman shored up the interior of Carolina’s defensive line with the team’s first two selections of the 2013 NFL draft by taking defensive tackles Star Lotulelei out of Utah and Kawann Short from Purdue.

    Between the two new Panthers that’s 610 pounds of what Gettleman hopes is lane-clogging mass.

    Carolina added five players to its roster through the draft, but now has to get to 90 players to fill out its offseason roster. Enter undrafted free agents.

    Which players do the Panthers have their eyes on? Here’s an undrafted free-agent tracker to keep up with the comings and goings of post-draft rookie transactions.

Colby Cameron, QB, Louisiana Tech

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    Cam Newton has an absolute stranglehold on the starting quarterback job with the Carolina Panthers. But that's not going to stop them from adding viable backup candidates to the mix.

    Carolina signed undrafted free-agent quarterback Colby Cameron from Louisiana Tech on Saturday. The Louisiana Tech athletic department announced the move via Twitter.

    Cameron threw 31 touchdown passes in 12 games last season and averaged 345.6 yards per game. His quarterback efficiency rating was 153.2 as he only threw five picks on the season.

    Source: Confirmed by a team release from the Panthers

Taylor Cook, TE, Rice

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    The Houston Chronicle broke the news Saturday that Rice tight end Taylor Cook was signed to an undrafted free agent contract by the Carolina Panthers.

    Three tight ends from Rice will enter the NFL in 2013. Vance McDonald was taken in the second round and Luke Wilson in the fifth. Cook rounded out the weekend by signing with Carolina.

    Cook started four games for Rice during the 2012 season and played in 13, catching 10 passes for 134 yards.

    Source: Confirmed by a team release from the Panthers

Trey Diller, WR, Sam Houston State

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    Sam Houston State wide receiver Trey Diller will sign with the Carolina Panthers, Jonathan Jones from the Charlotte Observer reported Saturday.

    The 6'2" 200-pound Diller led Sam Houston State with 62 receptions last season and caught four touchdown passes.

    The Panthers have been searching for wide receiver help for some time and need a legitimate target opposite Steve Smith for quarterback Cam Newton to target.

    Diller could also help the Panthers in the return game.

    Source: Confirmed by a team release from the Panthers

Wes Horton, DE/OLB, Southern California

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    Southern California defensive end Wes Horton has been signed to an undrafted free agent contract by the Carolina Panthers, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.

    If Horton stays at defensive end, he’ll have a tough hill to climb to earn a roster spot. However if he moves to outside linebacker and can make a name for himself on special teams, Horton has an outside shot at the roster.

    In 12 games last season with Southern California Horton notched 5.5 sacks, 6.5 tackles for loss and picked up two fumbles.

    Source: Confirmed by a team release from the Panthers

Damario Jeffery, LB, South Carolina

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    The Carolina Panthers his a home run with their first-round draft pick last year in linebacker Luke Kuechly. When Thomas Davis and Jon Beason are healthy, they are forces in the middle of the defense too.

    But moments when all three linebackers are on the field and 100 percent healthy have been few and far between of late. So much so that Carolina needs to add a lot of positional depth at linebacker.

    Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer assembled a list of undrafted free agents who either sent out tweets or had their agents do it for them, announcing that the Panthers had signed them to contracts. The Panthers are expected to send out an official release Monday.

    South Carolina linebacker Damario Jeffery was on Person’s list.

    Jeffrey posted 24 tackles last season and 3.5 tackles for loss. 

    Source: Confirmed by a team release from the Panthers

Robert Jones, OG, East Carolina

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    The Carolina Panthers have signed East Carolina offensive guard Robert Jones to an undrafted free agent contract.

    Jones started his ECU career on the defensive side of the football at defensive tackle. He even played in nine games as a true freshman after deciding to drop his redshirt label (East Carolina Athletic Department).

    Then in 2011 Jones moved from the defensive line to the offensive line. He took the year off from play and spent time on the scout team.

    Jones started all 12 games for the Pirates at right tackle in 2012.

    Source: Confirmed by a team release from the Panthers

Robert Lester, S, Alabama

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    The Carolina Panthers were thin in the secondary prior to the 2013 NFL draft and did nothing to make it stronger with their five picks over the weekend.

    But general manager Dave Gettleman began adding depth to the defensive backfield shortly after the draft ended.

    Alabama safety Robert Lester has been linked through Twitter statements as having signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Panthers. Carolina hasn’t released an official list yet, but Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer assembled a list of undrafted free agents who either sent out tweets or had their agents do it for them, announcing that the Panthers had signed them to contracts.

    Lester played in 14 games for the Crimson Tide and finished sixth on the team with 48 tackles, had 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, had four interceptions and registered 10 passes defensed.

    Source: Confirmed by a team release from the Panthers

Morgan Lineberry, K, Abilene Christian

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    There are a good number of occasions where a kicker will be added to the pre-training camp roster and welcomed to camp as a way to motivate the current kicker on the roster.

    Abiliene Christian kicker Morgan Lineberry, on the contrary, might have a legitimate shot at unseating current Panthers kicker Graham Gano.

    Lineberry, according to KTXS in Abilene, TX, received a bonus when he signed his undrafted free agent contract.

    Lineberry also received a signing bonus from the Panthers, almost unheard of for rookie free agent signees.  But it appears as if the Panthers are intent on giving Lineberry every opportunity to win the place kicking job currently held by four-year NFL veteran Graham Gano.

    Source: Confirmed by a team release from the Panthers

     

Tori Mobley, G, Jacksonville State

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    The Carolina Panthers added offensive guard Edmund Kugbila from Valdosta State in the fourth round of the NFL draft Saturday as the offensive line was a unit that needed some help.

    After the draft concluded, the Panthers continued to attempt to make the offensive line better by signing Jacksonville State offensive guard Tori Mobley.

    Mobley was a starter on the Gamecocks offensive line since the 2010 season and brings experience to camp with the Panthers.

    Source: Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer and confirmed by a team release from the Panthers

Craig Roh, DE, Michigan

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    The Carolina Panthers are one of the few NFC South teams that were seemingly set at defensive end heading into the draft with Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson, who combined for 23.5 sacks last season.

    The Panthers chose to address the middle of their defensive line by selecting two tackles (star Lotulelei and Kawann Short) with their first two picks in the draft.

    Adding depth at defensive end was left to after the draft.

    Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer assembled a list of undrafted free agents who either sent out tweets or had their agents do it for them, announcing that the Panthers had signed them to contracts. The Panthers are expected to send out an official release Monday.

    Michigan defensive end Craig Roh was on Person’s list.

    Roh was responsible for four sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss last season in 13 games for the Wolverines.

    Source: Confirmed by a team release from the Panthers

Casey Walker, DT, Oklahoma

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    Oklahoma defensive tackle Casey Walker tweeted a picture of his undrafted free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers on Monday.

    I'm officially a Carolina panther now #Godisgood #panthernation

    In 11 games with the Sooners last season, Walker made 25 tackles and three tackles for loss. He’ll join first-round pick Star Lotulelei and second-round pick Kawann Short as rookie defensive tackles on the Panthers roster.

    Source: Confirmed by a team release from the Panthers

Melvin White, CB, Louisiana Lafayette

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    When Chris Gamble was released by the Carolina Panthers early in the offseason, the team lost its best cover corner and got a lot younger and less experienced at the position.

    The Panthers made only five draft picks in last weekend’s NFL draft and did not come away with any help at cornerback.

    Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer assembled a list of undrafted free agents who either sent out tweets or had their agents do it for them, announcing that the Panthers had signed them to contracts. The Panthers are expected to send out an official release Monday.

    Louisiana Lafayette cornerback Melvin White was fourth on the team with 60 tackles and had 10 pass break ups during his 2012 season with the Ragin Cajuns.

    Source: Confirmed by a team release from the Panthers

Michael Zordich, FB, Penn State

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    With the philosophy that you can never have too many ball carriers on the roster, the Carolina Panthers not only added Kenjon Barner to the team via a sixth-round draft pick on Saturday, general manager Dave Gettleman went to work adding undrafted free agents soon after the completion of the draft.

    One of those rookie free agents was Michael Zordich of Penn State.

    Zordich carried the football 80 times last season for 308 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns. He also caught 15 passes for 151 yards, but told Penn Live that he’s be open to a position change to  make the roster.

    I have no idea. That depends on the team but I know that I'm capable of doing all of them and that I'm versatile enough to play any position they want so I'm just looking forward to it.

    Source: Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer and confirmed by a team release from the Panthers

Rumor: Jesse Peterson, OT, Wheaton

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    Wheaton offensive tackle Jesse Peterson was a two-year starter for the Thunder and now, after not hearing his name during the 2013 NFL draft, has signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers.

    The Panthers needed help in the draft along the offensive line, tackle included. Peterson will enter camp with a shot to learn and advance through the depth chart.

    Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer assembled a list of undrafted free agents who either sent out tweets or had their agents do it for them, announcing that the Panthers had signed them to contracts. The Panthers are expected to send out an official release Monday.

Rumor: Tyler Morgan, LS Georgia Tech

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    Current Carolina Panthers long snapper J.J. Jansen was signed by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2008 and then traded to the Panthers in 2009. He’s been with Carolina ever since.

    Georgia Tech long snapper Tyler Morgan was signed by the Panthers after the 2013 NFL draft ended to come in and push Jansen a bit.

    Morgan was Tech’s primary long snapper for four seasons after making the Yellow Jackets as a walk on (RamblingWreck.com).

    Source: Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer

Rumor: Pete Kontodiakos, P, Colorado State

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    The Carolina Panthers brought in an entire extra kicking unit with its undrafted free agent haul, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.

    Carolina added Tyler Morgan as long snapper, Morgan Lineberry as kicker and Pete Kontodiakos to punt during training camp. This will mean the Panthers will have two entire kicking units taking reps until cut begin happening in August.

    Kontodiakos finished his Colorado State career ranked No. 2 on the Rams’ all-time punting list with a 43.8 yards per punt average. He was a three-time All-Mountain West selection (Colorado State Athletic Department).

Rumor: Eric Breitenstein, FB, Wofford

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    It’s safe to say that both fullbacks added to the Carolina Panthers roster after the 2013 draft won’t make the team as fullbacks, if at all.

    Wofford fullback Eric Breitenstein was signed by the Panthers, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer who assembled a list of undrafted free agents who either sent out tweets or had their agents do it for them, announcing that the Panthers had signed them to contracts.

    Breitenstein rushed for 2,035 yards on 290 carries last season for Wofford and scored 19 touchdowns.

    Being able to play both running back and fullback will be helpful to Breitenstein as he attempts to make Carolina’s regular season roster, but the Panthers are stacked at running back. Breitenstein had better absolutely be a burner on special teams if he’s going to stick around.