Samuel needs to be able to give the Carolina Panthers an idea of where he is at health-wise…
Let me start by saying this: You do not want to put too much stock into mandatory minicamp. However, as the Carolina Panthers begin their minicamp practices Tuesday, it may be crucial for wide receiver Curtis Samuel.
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We have talked at length about the depth the Carolina Panthers have at the wide receiver position. Combine that with the ankle injury Samuel suffered in November and the former Ohio State Buckeye certainly has his work cut out for him.
Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer wrote a piece titled “5 accomplishments that would signal success in this week’s Carolina Panthers minicamp” The overall list is impressive and he noted that the Panthers can use the minicamp as a tool to gauge Samuel’s recovery process.
"Samuel, the wideout who was a second-round pick in 2017, is coming off a serious ankle injury that required surgery in November. Samuel has been slowly progressing throughout OTAs but is still not 100 percent.The Panthers certainly don’t want Samuel to suffer any setbacks this week. But if the former Ohio State standout can take another step forward, Ron Rivera and his staff could have a better idea of what to expect from Samuel in training camp."
If I was head coach Ron Rivera, there would be a couple things I would look for from Samuel this week. For starters, I would check and see how well he moves. These minicamp practices are nowhere near what an actual game is like but it gives a better sense as to how he is progressing. Does he have a fair amount of speed when asked to run at full speed? Can he cut effectively and quickly? Can he cut, period?
The answer to all of the above questions as far as full speed is concerned will probably be a “no.” The Panthers probably do not want him going at full speed. I think the biggest thing for them here is if he can do all the above things with minimal to no pain, that would be considered successful. I would use this minicamp to mainly focus on the conditioning aspect for Samuel. If he can put together three days of successful conditioning, I would consider that an effective minicamp.
Samuel needs to have a strong minicamp to at least give the Carolina Panthers an idea of where he stands. He has the talent, now he just needs to put it all together.