Can Teddy Gallagher become more than a Panthers feel-good story?

(Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Gallagher
(Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Gallagher /

How can linebacker Teddy Gallagher impress the Carolina Panthers during rookie minicamp after the undrafted prospect received an invite?

It won’t be long before fans get the first glimpse of the latest crop of college recruits at rookie minicamp. This is an opportunity for talented prospects to find their feet under the watchful eye of the team’s coaching staff, with many others looking to stake their claim for a longer stay with the Carolina Panthers providing they impress in a short space of time.

The Panthers managed to acquire six selections during another busy weekend that further enhanced the reputation of general manager Scott Fitterer. Carolina got the No. 1 player on their board at No. 6 in offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu and also took advantage of quarterback Matt Corral’s slide to move up and secure the Ole Miss product at No. 94.

More than a dozen prospects were sought in the undrafted free agency period, which might see one or two push their way into Carolina’s plans. Others have been invited to come in for a tryout at minicamp and one name, in particular, comes with some significant intrigue.

Teddy Gallagher must bring incredible energy to the Carolina Panthers

Teddy Gallagher was a hugely popular and productive figure at Coastal Carolina, bringing energy to the second level and exceptional leadership over a four-year period that saw the linebacker become something of a cult figure.

Gallagher earned himself a pretty cool nickname – The Mayor – thanks to his dominant performances. A title he embraced in no uncertain terms.

And what’s not to like about his blonde mullet, which sicks out like a sore thumb and is almost a throwback to the 1980s.

All this might be seen as a distraction when it comes to Gallagher’s production. The player notched 86 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks in 2021 as Coastal took the Sun Belt by storm under the expert guidance of quarterback Grayson McCall, a potential first-round pick in 2023.

Despite Gallagher’s consistent level of performance coming in for praise, he went relatively overlooked during the evaluation process. There are concerns about his size and athleticism at the next level, but the Panthers have absolutely nothing to lose by bringing him in for a tryout and seeing how things unfold.

Nothing much is expected of Gallagher, which might actually work in his favor.

If he comes in relaxed, demonstrates a willingness to learn, mixes in well with his teammates, and comes up with some big plays during individual and team drills, then it’s hard to envisage a situation where Gallagher doesn’t catch the eye.

There will be stern competition for Gallagher, with the Panthers picking up other linebacker prospects with a view to improving depth at the position. This also included the team trading up to take Brandon Smith, a supremely athletic individual out of Penn State.

Gallagher has been written off before, so overcoming the odds is nothing new to the player. But the NFL is a completely different ballgame and something the hopeful has to be ready for.

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Only time will tell as to whether or not Gallagher’s tryout becomes anything more than a feel-good story. However, it’s going to be fun to watch that’s for sure.