Rookie Offensive Tackle David Foucault was surprised last week to find out he had made the final 53 man roster for the Panthers. He had been under the impression that he would be cut and signed to the practice squad the following day when the Panthers suddenly changed their minds.
Players on the practice squad of any team are fair game throughout the league and available to be signed to the 53 man roster of anybody who wants them. The Panthers changed their mind on Foucault at the last minute last week specifically to avoid another team taking advantage of this option.
The giant Canuck who was drafted 5th overall in the CFL draft is as raw as prospects come, but the Panthers weren’t willing to risk losing him by putting him on the practice squad.
Foucault isn’t ready to step up and be a relative player yet, but he has plenty of potential to develop into a premier player in time. Allowing him to take up one of the very competitive 53 spots on the roster just for potential shows just what the Panthers think about him. As GM Dave Gettleman has said before “you can’t coach size,” and Foucault has that in spades. Standing at 6 foot 8 inches tall and weighing in at 320 pounds he has a size that can only be described as rare.
The patience the Panthers are willing to give him to develop can go a long way in time and eventually he may prove to be worth it. This is significant because an easily forgotten fact is that one of the premier offensive linemen in the league currently was once drafted by the Panthers and not allotted that kind of patience.
In 2005 the Panthers drafted Evan Mathis in the third round. He’s a big guard in Philly who was just last year named not only to the Pro Bowl, but first-team All-Pro as well. He only lasted in Carolina for two seasons before seemingly fizzling out; eventually though, he developed into a player considered the best at his position for another team. After leaving the Panthers in 2007 he bounced around to a couple of other teams before landing in Philadelphia in 2011. Today he is considered across the board as one of the leagues best players at his position.
This doesn’t mean anything for David Foucault in truth, but it’s an example of what can happen with a player when he is given the time to develop. Dave Gettleman has already proven in his short time as GM to be highly capable of properly evaluating talent. If he sees something in Foucault that made him hesitant at the possibility of losing him, then we can hold out hope that in time he can develop into a great player.
It will take time, but by keeping him on the active roster the Panthers have shown significant confidence in him and that can go a long way. Football is a game of confidence and when players like Foucault are in the right situation they can flourish. Here’s wishing the best of luck to him as he works to improve his game and get to a point where he can make an impact.