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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Camp Starts: Brayton Out, Gaither In

Omar Gaither, a former Eagles LB, has signed. The 6'2, 235 lb player adds the veteran presence depth Carolina wanted, after having signed its 3 starters. Dan Connor backs ILB, and rookie Lawrence Wilson backs weakside, so Gaither seems to make good sense as a SLB to start, but has moved around.

Here's what Profootballfocus had to say when calling him a bargain:

Omar Gaither, LB

The last time Omar Gaither got on the field for a significant amount of time he was making a big time impression before injury ended his 2009 season. His play in the first five games of that season was as good as any linebacker at the time. Sure, he isn’t the best dropping into coverage, but his work in 2009 (and 2008 before that) are the work of a man who needs to be on the field. Get the impression he could flourish in a number of defensive systems.

On the backside, the team cut DE Tyler Brayton, thrusting Everette Brown and Greg Hardy into the spot, and leaving the team a bit thinner (the undersized Eric Norwood is the 4th). But Brayton wasn't generating any rush (one of the lowest per snap in the NFL at end), and was up in age. Oddly, he was one of the two oldest remaining players after the 2010 purge (Kasay the other), and both are gone.

Also cut were Ed Johnson, DT; Hilee Taylor. I'm not actually sure how Johnson fit in this system - he never was much of a penetrator, and he was a bit of a stop gap. They could've seen how well he fit in this scheme, but with Edwards and two rookies as the top 3, theoretically the 4th guy would have to be young. Johnson was available last year so they can go to him as they need, but there will likely be other options too.

Taylor, a 7th round pick in 2008, did very little that anyone other than UNC fans ever noticed.
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