CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As the Panthers continued mandatory minicamp Wednesday, the focus wasn’t on quarterback Cam Newton.
Instead, the lion’s share of the attention was on who’s around Newton. Most notably, first-round draft pick D.J. Moore. Head coach Ron Rivera said Moore’s doing all the right things so far, describing the rookie’s demeanor as a quiet confidence and a “little bitty swagger.”
“He’s done a great job. He’s come in, he’s learned, he’s asked the right kind of questions and he’s listened,” Rivera said. “He has assumed nothing and he’s humble. I think this young man has an opportunity to do some things early in his career.”
In three seasons at the University of Maryland, Moore hauled in 146 catches for 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Panthers picked Moore with the 24th overall pick in this year’s draft. Former Panther and NFL analyst Steve Smith said it was the first time he felt the team had found a receiver capable of taking his spot as the top playmaker at Cam Newton’s disposal.
“If you really want to know the truth of how I feel, they have never been able to replace me. Until today,” Smith said.
Expectations are high for the youngster given that kind of praise. And Rivera made it known, too.
“Like all of the first rounders we’ve had, we expect him to come in and be a part of what we do.”
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