Carolina Panthers May Have Struck Gold with Undrafted Free Agent Signings
The Panthers have already signed an array of UDFAs through the first day of league activities. There are two in particular that seem to shine above the rest; UNC cornerback Kendric Burney and Auburn receiver Darvin Adams.
Burney was seen by many as the most talented rookie available following the draft. He slipped due to speed concerns that were raised after he posted a 4.71 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, the slowest among the defensive backs. Regardless, he was very impressive at the Senior Bowl and can make an impact early in his Panther career.
Burney compensates for his lack of speed with great instincts and polished skills though. He has experience and has shown the ability to play effectively in a zone or in man-to-man, where he is able to use his physicality, but often needs help over the top from a safety because he lacks great recovery speed.
The UNC product is also one of the most experienced players who left the college ranks this season. He is a four-year starter and did not miss a game until his senior season, where the NCAA investigation at North Carolina resulted in his absence from the first half of the season. He posted two interceptions in six games upon returning.
On his career, Burney has shown to be a ball-hawk, picking off a total of 11 interceptions and returning three for touchdowns, a feat that is rather exclusive in this rookie class of cornerbacks. Look for him to beat out multiple veteran cornerbacks for a roster spot this season. He is a high energy player who brings it in practice, something that wins him the respect of coaches.
Adams was Cam Newton's teammate at Auburn and rejoins him with the Panthers. Adams somehow slipped through the draft and now lands with the Panthers, who are not incredibly deep at the receiver spot.
Considered by most to be a mid-round prospect, Adams now finds himself in a position to win a roster spot due to the young receiving core that he is going to be competing with. He is a refined route-runner and standing at 6'2" while recording a 4.56 40-yard dash makes him a solid physical prospect.
Adams has put up very solid production over his past two seasons, but it was surprising when he entered the draft. Many felt another good season would do a lot in the way of boosting his stock. He is only 21 years old and has a lot of room to progress. He already possesses naturally sticky hands and isn't afraid to catch a ball in traffic.
Just like Burney, Adams is an extremely hard worker and there isn't a lot of talent to beat out on the Panthers' roster. The majority of the Panthers' young receivers have failed to prove themselves so Adams may get a chance to hook up with Newton in a regular season game.
If not, Adams will be a valuable player on the team's practice squad, if he clears waivers.
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