SPARTANBURG As an undrafted free agent rookie, Nate Chandler isnt expected to get many first-team reps at defensive tackle this training camp.
But the defensive coaching staff has given Chandler first-, second- and third-team reps throughout camp to see how he reacts to certain situations.
Panthers fans should be on the lookout Saturday for Chandler, who could see time going up against starting center Ryan Kalil.
Playing alongside the likes of Ron Edwards and other veterans on the defensive side, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound UCLA product has gleaned knowledge from his elder teammates while also competing against them for a spot.
Being the young guy looking at the vets, you get a sense of how they take camp and how serious it is. You feed off of it, he said. Being a rookie and seeing vets and how they attack practice, it teaches you how to go into certain situations like handling coaching and how to take it from the meeting room to the field every day and constantly get better.
I sit back and watch the vets and how they attack practice and try to incorporate it into practice.
Here are other players to keep an eye on at Saturdays Fan Fest:
• KR/WR Kealoha Pilares: The second-year receiver from Hawaii is part of wide receiver corps that is stacked with players flying under the radar. Pilares is projected to be a top kick returning option for Carolina, and coach Ron Rivera said Friday its essential that special teams players like Pilares also remain involved in the offensive scheme.
• FB Mike Tolbert: A former San Diego Charger under Rivera, Tolbert is the true fullback the Panthers were missing last season in the backfield. Tolbert will be able to plug holes and perform lead blocking duties for Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, but hes also dangerous in space. Tolbert averaged 4.0 yards per carry while racking up a career-high 433 receiving yards this past season.
• CB Darius Butler: The fourth-year player is slated to be the third cornerback for the Panthers this season. Butler played in 13 games (six starts) last year for Carolina and tallied 29 tackles after two years in New England. Hell try to solidify his position as the first man-up behind projected starters Chris Gamble and Captain Munnerlyn.
• K Justin Medlock: Medlock is a one-year standout who is giving 16-year veteran Olindo Mare a run for the starting kicker position. Medlock is one of the rare kickers who was picked in the draft, going in the fifth round to Kansas City in 2007. Rivera said Thursday he wont tell Mare or Medlock who will be the starter until just before theyre set to kick.