SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Shaq Thompson has officially arrived at Panthers training camp. While being mostly absent during the first two practices, Thompson started to come into his own in Sunday's practice.
During 7-on-7 drills, Thompson made a speedy break on a Cam Newton pass intended for Greg Olsen. Thompson batted down the ball, marking his first official "play" made in Panthers training camp.
One of Thompson's primary responsibilities will be to cover talented tight ends like Seattle's Jimmy Graham. Getting camp experience against a player the caliber of Greg Olsen can only accelerate the rookie's learning and adjusting to the pro game.
Thompson continued to impress throughout Sunday's workouts. Another play that sticks out in my mind is a quick gap stop, halting Fozzy Whittaker's progress. The Panthers had problems plugging the correct gap in run defense for a good portion of last season.
Shaq Thompson is having more thrown at him than most defensive rookies. He is learning what many consider to be the most difficult defensive position. While other rookies can be thrown into the mix relatively quickly, Thompson will require more time in the film room in addition to playing time.
If Sunday's performance is any indication, Thompson may be a quick study.
For complete Panthers training camp news and updates, visit Carolina Huddle.