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Panthers think Thielen's still got it



CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) – While the Carolina Panthers don’t know which quarterback they’re taking with the first pick of the upcoming draft, they’re quite confident they’ve assembled the right guys to surround him in the huddle.

“We feel like we’re putting this guy in a good position with some of the pieces that we’ve signed,” said Frank Reich.

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

Among the vital offseason acquisitions was Adam Thielen. After spending his nine-year career with the Minnesota Vikings, the 6’2″ veteran wide receiver became available after he was released in a salary cap move.

Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said bringing him in was a no-brainer.

“He’s such a leader,” Fitterer said. “We had him in the building last year. I was really impressed with him.”

Still, there are questions about how long he can go.

Thielen’s numbers have been declining in recent years. Last season he averaged just over 10 yards per catch, the lowest total of his career.

But while he is now 32, when physical skills start to decline, Fitterer believes Thielen has a skill set that allows him to stay effective.

“He is so much about technique and separation and route running,” Fitterer said. “If he loses a step, it’s not a big factor for his style of play.”

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Though he’s had some injuries in recent years, Fitterer believes the two-time Pro Bowler will have no problems finishing out the duration of his year deal. Thielen has said excited to be here, and the Panthers are excited to have him.

“You can play him at Z; you can play him in the slot; you can really move him all over the place,” said Reich.

Whoever comes in under center will have to learn a lot quickly, but Carolina hopes that having Thielen on his side will make things a lot easier.

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