Two new Carolina Panthers are already forming a unique bond off the field…
A late first-round selection left the Carolina Panthers with limited high profile opportunities when on the clock during the NFL Draft last month. However, not a single wide receiver had been chosen and general manager Marty Hurney knew the one he wanted.
D.J. Moore, out of Maryland, became the first Panthers player picked somewhat suprisingly over Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley (who went to Atlanta just two positions later). Moore’s ability to gain yardage after the catch and create space with his routes were two reasons Hurney ultimately made the decision.
Another new wide receiver, Torrey Smith, who the Panthers traded for during the offseason, also played collegiate ball at Maryland and after seven NFL seasons is a proven veteran. Smith helped the Eagles to a Super Bowl championship just last season with five catches for 49 yards in the big game. His proven leadership and contributions both on and off the field, Smith is a former Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, make him a versatile and interesting addition to the Panthers offense along with his down the field pass catching abilities.
He will also take on another role with a relatively young group of wide receivers – mentor. At 29 years old, Smith is the oldest member of a group that averages just 24 years of age as a unit. Already, he is taking Moore under his wing and it should definitely be beneficial for the new wide out.
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Moore and Smith both share a Maryland connection but the latter revealed it was his play on the field that led him to encourage Carolina into selecting the young prospect. According to Panthers team reporter, Bill Voth, Smith played the role of scout and offered the following comments about his new understudy.
"“I think you could say (Moore has) that dog in him. He’s quiet, but when he’s on that field, you can see it in his play … I got to see him from afar and now I’ll be able to help him with his adjustments to becoming a pro. I’m not letting anybody pick on him, that’s for sure. I’ve already thrown that out there – ain’t nobody mess with him.”"
A jovial warning to his new teammates but as the elder statesman in the wide receiver room, one that should be heeded accordingly. With eight players having under two years of experience, it’s a safe bet to assume his instructions will be followed.