July 26, 2014

Gamecocks in the NFL: Story lines as training camps open

Story lines for former South Carolina players in the NFL as training camps open:

Story lines for former South Carolina players in the NFL as training camps open:


... Jadeveon Clowney, LB, Texans

The No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft is recovering from his June surgery for a sports hernia. Clowney, who’s making the move to outside linebacker, has the physical skills to develop into an impact player.

... Bruce Ellington, WR, 49ers

The 49ers made a point in the offseason of upgrading their offensive firepower, especially at wide receiver. Ellington, a fourth-round pick, is expected to provide a deep threat for quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

... Connor Shaw, QB, Browns

As an undrafted free agent, competition will be stiff. Shaw will battle returnee Brian Hoyer, first-round pick Johnny Manziel and former Coastal Carolina quarterback and NFL veteran Tyler Thigpen battle for a roster spot.

... Kelcy Quarles, DT, Giants

After going undrafted this spring, Quarles must prove a lot in a short period of time to land a spot on the roster. On a recent Giants’ blog on ESPN.com, he is not listed as one of the nine defensive linemen expected to make the team.

... Victor Hampton, CB, Bengals

Despite being undrafted, Hampton has the potential to stick with the Bengals. It appears he’ll be in a battle for the sixth cornerback spot. He could be helped by his ability to contribute on special teams.


... Marcus Lattimore, WR, 49ers

Lattimore must first prove he is healthy enough to play. He will begin training camp on the team’s PUP list while second-round pick Carlos Hyde battles incumbent Frank Gore for carries in the team’s ground-oriented attack. Meanwhile, Kendall Hunter - who backed up Gore last season - tore the ACL in his right knee in training camp Friday.

... Captain Munnerlyn, CB, Vikings

After five seasons with the Panthers, he signed a $15 million deal with Minnesota, where he’s expected to start despite starting camp on the PUP list with a hamstring injury. He’s coming off a standout season with 74 tackles and 12 pass breakups.

... Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears

Jeffery exploded onto the scene in his second season with 89 receptions for 1,421 yards, a 16.0-yard average, and seven touchdowns. He became a dangerous deep threat thanks to his 6-foot-3, 216-pound frame.

... Stephon Gilmore, CB, Bills

The former first-round pick is expected to have a breakout season in his third year. He missed five games last season due to injury and then had hip surgery in the offseason. He had two interceptions in 11 games.

... D.J. Swearinger, S, Texans

He established his credentials as a rookie, piling up 71 tackles while displaying the toughness and fearlessness he had at USC. He also will be expected to help ease Clowney’s transition to the NFL.

-- Compiled by Neil White

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