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Monday, February 3, 2014

Rookie Review: UDFAs

For a team that seemed to have more veteran backups and good depth than
what we're used to, Carolina still pulled in a number of undrafted
rookies to play, and many look poised to keep moving forward with the
team.


Melvin White

2013 season performance

White started out inactive, but he started 10 games and played the
second most snaps behind Captain Munnerlyn. Busting onto the scene
against NYG, he had a pick and a forced fumble to get a game ball from
the team.

At one point, White's QB rating on targets was in the 40s. Tom Brady
started picking on him, and after that things started to become more of
a struggle. He never stopped fighting, however, and got rewarded with
(an awkward looking) pick-6 against Atlanta that essentially won the
game.

Longterm Prognosis

White's a long, lean corner with some physicality and tackling skill,
and that's exactly what Ron Rivera loves. A year's worth of experience
behind him and his first offseason in a pro weight program should help
him. But, with 5 free agent DBs, the position will undoubtedly change,
and White will have to battle for his spot. With experience should
come some greater route recognition.



Robert Lester

2013 season performance

Highly touted out of rookie camp, Lester disappeared until he was
needed in game 3, again the Giants game, and he had 5 tackles and an
INT. He finished with 4 starts and situationally playing the rest of
his 295 snaps (about 6-7 games' worth), with 21 tackles and 3 INT (2nd
on the team behind Mike Mitchell, who played 900 snaps).

He did have some hiccups against San Francisco, with a missed tackle
and a blown coverage, each of which cost the team.

Longterm Prognosis

He contributed, and he has the size (6'1, 215) to keep helping out.
He's a thumper who has a nose for the ball, but he has to clean up the
mistakes to play safety. He's a guy who, if asked, can play the short
zone just fine and will hold onto the deeper zone well enough if asked.
He doesn't have the range to pull off a cover 1, but if you do a flip
cover 3 or go to quarters, he'll help you. With the two starters at S
both free agents, Lester could be good insurance against letting one
walk.


Wes Horton

2013 season performance

The USC alum played 10 games/169 snaps, and recorded 2 sacks, 6
tackles. He had 6 tackles and 1.5 sacks in preseason as well. He added
situational rush as needed, most specifically down the stretch with 2
sacks in NE with the early injury for Charles Johnson.

Longterm Prognosis

A lot depends on Greg Hardy and how they deal with him/potentially
replace him. The snaps are there to be had, and Horton wasn't expected
to compete as well as he did against Mario Addison or Frank Alexander.
But he's in the equation, and if he can add strength to his 6'5, 265 lb
frame, he'll have as good a shot as any to get more play.
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