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|Posted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:48 am Post subject: Bersin faces new challengers for spot with Panthers
|Brenton Bersin is experiencing his usual http://www.authenticdolphinsjerseys.com/shop-by-players-mike-pouncey-jersey-c-1_42.html training camp. He’s once again no lock to make the roster while the team has brought in a new crop of receivers seeking to snare his spot.
One major difference for the former Wofford College star is he’s held on long enough to where he’s emerged as the oldest receiver on Carolina’s roster among the 13 at the position.
Now in his fifth season with the Panthers, the first spent on the practice squad, the 27-year-old (10 weeks older than recent signee Trevor Graham from North Carolina State) has not only been with the organization the longest, the Charlotte native trails only newcomer Russell Shepard, a free-agent pick-up from Tampa Bay, in terms of NFL seasons among receivers with three to the former Buc’s four.
With Bersin possessing a far more low-key personality than Shepard, he’s taken a backseat in terms of leadership to a guy more willing to put himself out there.
“It’s a different room,” Bersin said of the youth movement among the wideouts. “Losing Ted (Ginn Jr.) and Philly (Brown), but gaining Shep, a vocal leader, it’s been fun playing with him and he’s been a great influence on me as a vet and brought a lot of energy to the room. We have a lot of young guys out there making plays and have a lot of depth, a lot of guys out there (overall), and think we have a really good group.”
For the first time it’s 2014 first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin who’s looked upon to slide into the lead role both as a performer and a mentor. Benjamin, 26, who is readying for his third full season after missing 2015 with a torn ACL, dealt with criticism about his increased weight this off-season and now, while trimmed down, is dealing with the recent death of his mother.
The team no longer has the presence of a grizzled veteran leader at the position after the departure of Ginn, who had returned to the Panthers for the past two seasons. In 2014-15 the roster featured elder statesman Jerricho Cotchery (in addition http://www.authenticpackerssale.com/shop-by-players-73-jc-tretter-jersey-c-1_35.html to Jason Avant three years ago) and, of course, the best receiver in team history, Steve Smith, ended his tenure following the 2013 season.
“I think it’s a good group with Kelvin and (Devin) Funchess as our lead guys and then (Sheppard) comes in,” Bersin said. “He’s that vocal leader. I’m not as much a vocal guy, I lead by example, but we have all different kinds of guys. We just have a little bit of everything in that room and it’s going to be special.”
With Benjamin, Funchess, Sheppard and rookie second-round pick Curtis Samuel locks to make the roster, that leaves Bersin battling for one of likely two spots. Samuel was the lone receiver drafted in April and the remaining competitors are a mishmash of former practice squad guys and free agents with little to no NFL game experience.
South Carolina alum Damiere Byrd, one of the team’s fastest, is one of the top contenders to snag one of those final spots after spending most of the past two years on the practice squad. Among the new guys, UNC Charlotte rookie Austin Duke has shown flashes early in camp to begin to put his name on the radar.
“I think the biggest thing is to keep learning and take the high days with the low days and just kind of balance yourself out,” Duke said. “I’m still in the process of learning the plays, making sure I know what I’m supposed to be Andrew Norwell Youth Jersey doing and just working on consistency. I have big-play potential and need to continue to be who I am, the rest will take care of itself.”