Recently our fearless leader over here at CatCrave put up an article called: Will Robert Lester make the team? Honestly, I’m pretty sure he will and here’s why.
Unless Lester performs horribly at training camp, he will make the final roster. He holds more promise than any of the other UDFAs picked up during the offseason. Lester has had documented speed issues, an issue that reportedly held him back during the draft and pre-draft combine. Though an over developed since of awareness of the ball and where it plans to travel could overtake the problems that plague Lester currently, something that Lester seems to possess.
Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn has been advocating Lester’s potential with the team because of his over developed since of the ball. I recently read this in an article on Al.com, “I’m impressed with him; I know he won three championships at Alabama.” Munnerlyn said, “That’s already impressive. He’s come in – he’s humble, he works hard, he listens. He’s just doing what the coach tells him to do. He’s come in there and makes plays. He’s not the fastest guy I’ve ever seen at safety, but he’s a guy who can get to the ball, and I think he can help us out a lot.
“He’s come in as a free agent and he’s done wonderful things. I’m pulling for Robert, not because he’s from Mobile, but because he’s a great player.”
High praise from a player who knows what can improve a secondary, obviously something the Panthers have been lacking as of late. Lester will make an impact and is definitely in line to play for the starting spot at strong safety. And from what I hear around the internet, Lester made a strong impression with the coaching staff during the team’s mini-camp, and his head seems to be in the right place.
In another article posted on Al.com, Head Coach Ron Rivera had this to say about Lester: “I really like what Robert Lester did.”
While Lester himself said this about his state of mind, also on Al.com, “If you were to watch film from 2011, I don’t think one team threw the ball deep on us. Everything was short,” Lester said last month. “That’s what you want. You want to take a part of the field away from them. If they feel they can’t throw deep, that’s a good game plan. I know the Panthers want more interceptions. At Alabama, we really put an emphasis on creating turnovers and being a quarterback’s nightmare. We can have that same identity here.”
All in all things seem to be looking up for Lester, unless the team picks up Quintin Mikell. Honestly adding Mikell to the roster gives the secondary a huge boost but it ultimately puts Lester, D.J. Campbell, and Haruki Nakamura in the hot seat. Though Lester will still probably have a future with the team with Mikell, his future might be a practice squad player. Most teams carry four safeties on the roster, and while I can see the Panthers carrying five because of the lack of talent, the most viable option is leaving four safeties on the roster with one on the reserves/practice squad roster. Nevertheless, Lester has the best chance of making the roster out of all the UDFA’s and I really think he could make an impact in the secondary WHEN he makes the team.