Norwood in familiar spot; post-spring depth chartThere was much chatter leading up to the draft about which position South Carolina All-American LB Eric Norwood would play at the next level.
Considered a ‘tweener at 6-1 and 240 pounds, most draft experts thought Norwood would fit best as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
But if Norwood’s first weekend in an NFL camp is any indication, the Carolina Panthers plan to use their fourth-round pick in the same spot the Gamecocks did – which is to say, everywhere.
Darin Gantt, who covers the Panthers for the Rock Hill Herald and Charlotte Observer, wrote about a two-play sequence Saturday at Carolina’s rookie minicamp in which Norwood covered a tight end from the strong-side LB spot, then lined up at end to rush the quarterback on the next snap.
Gantt reported that Norwood appeared “ordinary sized” walking off the practice field, “but every time you see him on the field he’s in the middle of everything.”
As for one of the Gamecocks’ best prospects in next year’s draft …
Weslye Saunders is Mel Kiper’s top tight end in the ’11 draft, but he is not the Gamecocks’ No. 1 tight end anymore.
Senior captain Patrick DiMarco, who moved from fullback this spring, is the first-team tight end on USC’s post-spring depth chart. Steve Spurrier switched DiMarco to TE to get him more involved in the offense, and he had an impressive spring.
Saunders, a matchup nightmare at 6-6 and 273 pounds, both will be on the field a lot this fall – often at the same time. Coaches like to flex Saunders out wide, while DiMarco could still line up in the backfield in certain sets.
The rest of the depth chart contained only a couple of minor changes.
Connor Shaw, as expected, is the No. 2 quarterback behind Stephen Garcia. D.L. Moore moved ahead of Jason Barnes at the third receiver spot.
Adam Yates, who handled nearly every kickoff in 2009, fell off the depth chart completely. Joey Scribner-Howard is listed as Spencer Lanning’s backup at place-kicker, while Scribner-Howard and UNC transfer Jay Wooten are the co-starters for kickoffs.
The depth chart includes only returning players. But you can bet several freshmen will be in the mix come August.
Besides the obvious (see Lattimore, Marcus), expect receiver Ace Sanders to get a look in the slot. Also, coaches believe cornerback Victor Hampton could back up Stephon Gilmore on the boundary side (walk-on Marty Markett, who was a pleasant spring surprise, currently is No. 2).
Other newcomers expected to be factors this fall include offensive lineman A.J. Cann, JUCO defensive tackle Byron Jerideau and Greenwood defensive lineman Kelcy Quarles, assuming he qualifies.