The Carolina Panthers certainly had plenty of things to complain about after a lackluster whipping against the Houston Texans in game one of the 2012 preseason schedule. Despite this, there were also plenty of reasons to feel good about things. Some of those bright spots came from the rookies as well. As a huge Carolina Panthers fan myself, I enjoy watching and evaluating the rookies each week. Here is a look at how the rookies fared during week one of the preseason along with a grade for each:
Luke Kuechly - Kuechly was clearly one of the better players on the field during his half a quarter of action. His early comparisons to Brian Urlacher don't seem so outlandish now. Four tackles and a forced fumble showed what he is capable of and that was without Jon Beason and Thomas Davis running around.
Grade - A+
Joe Adams - Despite a couple of close calls fielding punts, Adams was a difference maker with a great return of 34 yards. His electricity is going to keep Bank of America Stadium on their toes for years to come.
Grade - A
Amini Silatolu - I had high hopes for Silatolu coming into the game and he did not disappoint overall. Watching him closely I noticed him moving guys around and holding his gaps in pass blocking. Silatolu is going to seriously upgrade the line over time. He makes me feel a good bit better about Jeff Otah.
Grade - B+
Brad Nortman - Man can this kid kick a football. With booming kicks, Nortman certainly made his case to become the new punter for the Panthers. His one chance to pin the Texans deep went awry however. In time, this kid could end up being a solid pick by the Panthers late.
Grade - B
Frank Alexander - Alexander looked great on a few plays but was inconsistent overall. That is what I would expect at this stage, but I think he will be an excellent addition to the team by mid-season or so. He can certainly move people around when he sets his mind to it.
Grade - C
Josh Norman, DJ Campbell - Neither of these guys got significant playing time due but I expect that will change in time. Neither really had enough time in the game to make an impact one way or the other.
Tauren Poole - Poole was dynamic and it caught a ton of people by surprise. I was surprised at his strength but not the results. Poole has been a standout the entire camp. He is in a stacked position, but Tauren Poole is making a case to replace someone.
Grade - A
Michael Avila - Avila is a surprise as well but he certainly made a nice little impact in his brief time on the field. He had a really nice kick return to make his mark.
Grade - B
*Southern is a huge Carolina Panthers fan that is convinced that he will see a Super Bowl Trophy in Charlotte within five years.
More from this contributor:
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- Three Reasons the Carolina Panthers Should Bring Back Jeremy Shockey: Fan's Take
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- Why Newly Released Luis Castillo Would Be Great Fit in Carolina: Fan's Reaction
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