Ron Rivera talks about Panthers rookie class


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Organized Team Activities are right around the corner for the Carolina Panthers, but this past weekend the rookies got their first taste of the NFL at their mini-camp. We spoke with Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera last week after his Pro-Am at Eagle Point to get his thoughts on the incoming class.

As the NFL Draft progressed, the plan of the Carolina Panthers became abundantly clear: They need to help out Cam Newton.

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“We had to go out and bring in guys that we really thought that could help us,” Head Coach Ron Rivera said. “First thing was we got him a couple of playmakers that could make plays from anywhere on the football field, then we added a little bit more depth to our offensive line with (Taylor) Moton. I think he’s going to be a young man that could really help us.”

One of those playmakers that Coach Rivera alluded to was first round pick, Christian McCaffrey. Not only does he have the all time record of all-purpose yards in a season, a record set by the Hall of Famer Barry Sanders, but it’s also what McCaffrey brings off the field that the Panthers fell in love with.

“Well first of all, he’s a solid young man, he really is,” Rivera said. “He’s got high football character and he’s a high quality young man. But his athleticism is just tremendous and we feel that he can help us at any position.”

Another area McCaffrey can help is special teams. Coach Rivera said in addition to offense and defense, the third element of the game needed some help as well.

“We start off with Christian McCaffrey in the first round, a young man that could play running back for us, some slot receiver and is a tremendous punt returner,” Rivera said. “Then we went out and got Curtis Samuel from Ohio State, a wide receiver that plays the slot position but he too can play a little bit of running back as well and he’s a punt returner. So we really helped our special teams.”

The entire Panthers roster will return to the field in two weeks when they begin their organized team activities.