Throughout the summer, we will touch on players on the Carolina Panthers’ roster looking to step up and emerge into the spotlight. Predictions will be thrown about. Egos will get inflated. Feelings might get hurt along the way.
Cat Crave Nation, here is your next Carolina Panthers’ PTP14 - Melvin White.
I know Melvin White had what could be termed a “breakout” season for us in 2013, but his year was inconsistent. He didn’t have the experience yet to be our true number-one corner and his play on the field was equally positive, as it was negative. Yet as the season wore on, White emerged showing flashes of what it takes to be our featured cornerback.
White may have went undrafted last year, but Carolina had the foresight to claim him with the hopes of being an eventual starter down the line. The former Louisiana-Lafayette standout couldn’t help but make plays all season, and rightfully so, thrust himself into the starting lineup.
At 6’1″, 205-pounds, White looks the part as the “en vogue” kind of corner dotting the current NFL landscape. His physical play at the line and once the ball is in
play makes him a tough player to run routes against. He might not have the 4.4-speed that some fans desire, but White has incredible closing speed. Ask Eli Manning and Matt Ryan if White is too slow to play on the outside.
White made two brilliant plays against these two veteran quarterbacks last season to illustrate his game speed.
The Panthers secondary has taken a lashing this offseason as being weak and in need of improvement, but Melvin White is a PTPer ready for the spotlight. The mistakes that were made in 2013 are in the past, yet will be used as study material to aid the second-year CB in his maturation. His strong frame, keen instincts and athleticism are traits that defensive coordinators look for.
Three of White’s best games during the 2013 season came in high-pressure games.
In week 11, Carolina was in a heated MNF battle with New England, but White was cool enough to come away with seven tackles and one pass defended. Carolina seized the night and won 24-20 in one of 2013′s best games.
In Week 16, “The Noah’s Arc” game at The Bank against New Orleans, White had a six tackle performance and another pass defended. Carolina battled through the elements in the greatest football game I’ve ever been to, and was victorius 17-13.
His biggest game of the year would come the following week in Atlanta.
Trailing 10-0 in a must-win finale on the road, White read the WRs and jumped the route for a huge interception. He speed-crawled his way into the endzone for a huge six points late in the second quarter. Panthers shifted momentum and went on to win 21-20. White also had eight tackles to go with his pick-six.
White now has free-agent acquisition Antoine Cason opposite him, giving the Panthers two rangy and athletic starting cornerbacks. The veteran prowess that Cason exudes will benefit the young White. Additionally, if Charles Godfrey wins the starting nickel position, that will allow the Panthers to supply two veteran leaders out there to support Melvin White.
Make no mistake about it Cat Crave Nation, we have ourselves a bonafide stud who is a mere 24-years old. The plays that drew praise in 2013 will continue to occur in 2014 as White blazes a name for himself amongst the rising star CBs in the NFL.