Panthers No. 49: Will David Reese get enough time to impress?

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) David Reese
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) David Reese /

Will undrafted free-agent linebacker David Reese get enough time to impress during training camp with the Carolina Panthers?

Plans are gathering pace at a rapid rate ahead of the 2020 season. The Carolina Panthers will make their long-awaited return to training camp in the coming days. And everything seems to be on course for the campaign starting on time despite concerns relating to the current climate.

This is arguably the most uncertain season in franchise history. Things could go either way for the Carolina Panthers after wholesale changes across the board. And their task has not been aided by an immensely disrupted offseason period.

New head coach Matt Rhule entered the Panthers’ facility on Friday for the first time in many months. What sort of progress the organization can make during camp is going to ultimately determine their fortunes. And there are plenty of questions surrounding the roster ahead of their week one opener against the Las Vegas Raiders in just 49 days.

Having no preseason games is another complication Carolina needs to overcome. This represents a bitter blow for those on the fringes looking to make their way in the NFL. And it is probably the worst time for incoming college recruits to start their professional journey.

Continuing our countdown feature ahead of the new season, we now turn our attention to Carolina’s No. 49. David Reese was a standout linebacker in college with the Florida Gators. But this was not enough to hear his name called during the 2020 NFL Draft.

He didn’t last long on the undrafted free-agent market, with the Panthers acquiring his services in double-quick time. This is an area of the field that is relatively devoid of depth following the shock retirement of Luke Kuechly. And they are looking for a development project to take on that has the scope to fill the void in the future.

Can David Reese do enough to earn a longer stay with the Carolina Panthers?

Reese fits into this category, although one could argue that Jordan Mack has a more impressive skill set. However, the player has made a tremendous impact on the second level in Florida. So if he can take this momentum into his first pro training camp. It could see the rookie catch the eye early on.

There is a lot to like about the way Reese goes about his business on the field. He is a formidable tackling presence who provides consistency. And his ability to wrap up opposing players on the first impact was another standout feature of his game.

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Reese ended his tenor with the Gators by recording 324 combined tackles, 122 solo tackles, 3.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, and one interception. He was selected to the AP All-SEC Second Team in 2019. And his leadership came through during his senior year.

Whether the linebacker will get enough time to showcase his talent is another matter entirely. The Panthers are required to cut their roster from 90 down to 80 by the August 16 deadline. And this will leave some players denied the chance to get onto the field during drills.

Given Rees’ inexperience in the NFL. It might lead to the player’s early release.

This would be a significant blow for his aspirations. But it might well open up another window on another team who were also keen before he eventually signed in Carolina.

Nothing much is expected of the Panthers in terms of a winning record or postseason berth in 2020. This might work in Rees’ favor. And the prospect of an increased practice squad of 16 is another boost to his fortunes if he makes his presence felt from the outset.

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