"With the 14th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select Star Lotulelei, defensive tackle from the University of Utah."
Never has mediocrity sounded so good.
The Carolina Panthers finished the 2012 season with a disappointing 7-9 record, one more win that the year before and no playoff appearance to show for their efforts.
While the NFL Draft afforded them the opportunity to snag Lotulelei and help the defense, along with second round defensive tackle, Kawann Short, Purdue.
For head coach Ron Rivera, it is a start of hopefully something big in Charlotte.
The Panthers followed their draft by signing 14 undrafted free agents over the weekend. Not just players to fill a roster, but talent that could see a few of these players make the active roster.
DE Craig Roh, Michigan
LB Damario Jeffery, South Carolina
S Robert Lester, Alabama
QB Colby Cameron, Louisiana Tech
TE Taylor Cook, Rice
CB Melvin White, Louisiana Lafayette
FB Michael Zordich, Penn State
G Tori Mobley, Jacksonville State
WR Trey Diller, Sam Houston State
DL Bryan Jean-Pierre, William & Mary
OT Jesse Peterson, Wheaton
LS Tyler Morgan, Georgia Tech
USC, DE/OLB Wes Horton, USC
K Morgan Lineberry, Abilene Christian
P Pete Kontodiakos, Colorado State
Of the players on this list, keep an eye on safety Robert Lester of Alabama. The former Tide player was part of National Title team last year. Lester has good size at 6'1" and can cover a player over the middle or drop back into coverage. He is a bit of a 'tweener and may lack the athleticism for deep coverage, but he is worth the gamble.
I am also curious how fullback Michael Zordich will pan out. He will be a good fit on special teams. Zordich led all offensive players with nine tackles last season, six of which were solo stops, making at least one stop in seven games. His work ethic, toughness and intensity will fit right in with Rivera's team philosophy.