Carolina Panthers rookie defensive back Donte Jackson was a walking microcosm of what an NFL training camp is all about on Wednesday.
In one 10-minute span, Jackson showed off the skills that made him a coveted draft prospect out of LSU.
First, he made a nice break on an out route in front of No. 1 receiver Devin Funchess but couldn’t hold on to the interception.
On the next play, he broke up another Cam Newton pass, against rookie first-round pick D.J. Moore, in the end zone.
Then, on a deeper route down the sideline, Jackson knocked down another Newton pass intended for Funchess.
But Jackson, the most likely Panthers defensive back to have a pre-choreographed touchdown routine if he ever gets a pick six, also saw the other side.
Moore, during individual drills, won a contested catch against him that drew an “ooooooh” from the crowd.
Then, during team drills, Newton aired one out to the back corner of the end zone, and Torrey Smith came down with it, against Jackson coverage.
That had Newton yelling and dancing.
So, for Jackson, it was “Have a day.”
▪ Curtis Samuel jogs out with pads on and a big ol’ grin. Samuel (non-football injury list) and Brian Cox Jr. (physically unable to perform) passed their physicals.
▪ No pads or cleats for rookie safety Rashaan Gaulden, who was on the exercise bike most of practice with what we were told is a quadriceps bruise. Wednesday was the first practice since his big collision with wide receiver Jarius Wright on Monday.
▪ Taylor Heinicke took some repetitions at quarterback with the second-team..
▪ Undrafted rookie Brendan Mahon took a repetition at left guard in tandem drill alongside Matt Kalil, and another at left tackle. Coach Ron Rivera went over to keep a close eye on the proceedings as the Panthers put Mahon through the paces.
▪ It went from a damp, refreshing mist at Wofford that was more refreshing than anything else to a steady drizzle to rain.
▪ The weather kept a lot of fans away, but those who came had a much better chance of getting autographs.
▪ The rain meant a lot of cheap umbrellas on the sideline, present company included.
▪ The Panthers had referees at practice.
▪ Efe Obada was the first guy out again on Wednesday.
▪ Veteran wide receiver and social activist Smith, always quick out to the field as well, wore an undershirt that said “#SchoolsNotPrisons.” Captain Munnerlyn wore the same shirt under his pads as well.
▪ Special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn was, at one point, not happy with the energy level in one drill. “You had a day off,” he yelled. “Wake the (bleep) up.”
▪ Watching a punt drill is a reminder of how special teams could make the difference for some in terms of a roster spot. Running back Cameron Artis-Payne is one of them.
▪ Samuel had a nice catch along the sideline on a wet ball but also showed he’s still trying to get his feet under him when he took a tumble.
▪ Tackle Taylor Moton and guard Trai Turner had a good rep against defensive end Ed Horton and defensive tackle Dontari Poe in tandem block drill.
▪ Cornerback Corn Elder got some praise from defensive backs coach Richard Rodgers after coverage of Mose Frazier. (The ball was overthrown.)
▪ Rookie tight end Ian Thomas had a nice catch to come back from an earlier drop after contact.
▪ Munnerlyn gave up about a half-foot in height and about 5 yards in distance on a play in which he was supposed to be covering Greg Olsen. Result: 20-yard gain and maybe a TD if the drill was all the way live.