The next thing on the NFL calendar starts this this week as player report for Rookie Mini-Camp. It's a two to three day camp either this week or next depending on the team. It's the first chance for teams to work with their draft picks and undrafted free agent signings that took place after the draft. Not every draft pick will be reporting as some colleges are on quarter systems and a player can't report until their school year ends. But for the most part, things are getting rolling as coaches have new players to work with. Besides the drafted and undrafted free agents, there are also players invited to camp for tryouts. It's rare for someone to make the team from tryouts, but it's not impossible.
The Carolina Panthers camp starts tomorrow, so rookies showed up today to get their helmets, pads and gear. Equipment Manger Jackie Miles says that the team doesn't care where the player comes from, they're all treated the same and safety is the primary concern. Football Operations Manager Bryan Porter is responsible for getting all 50+ players to the facility and ready to go for the start of camp. 35 to 40 of those participating are tryout players.
In the video below we get to see two players, wide receiver Austin Duke and linebacker Ben Boulware, getting fitted for their helmet and acclimating to their new surroundings. Boulware was worried about being on time, so he arrived 1:30 early and waited in his car. Duke seems blown away to get to meet starting linebacker Luke Kuechly. Both Duke and Boulware are undrafted free agent signings, Duke played for the Charlotte 49ers while Boulware was part of the National Champion Clemson Tigers. Both slot receiver and linebacker were positions of need going into the draft. But the Panthers selected Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel who can play the slot, making Duke chances a long shot. Boulware on the other hand has a better chance as the Panthers lost A.J. Klein to free agency and did not draft a linebacker last weekend.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) May 4, 2017