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Undrafted from Alabama, Lester has chance to start

Robert Lester AP

It seemed like safety Robert Lester might have been the only Alabama player who wasn’t drafted this year.

He might have also been among the most fortunate.

Signing with the secondary-poor Panthers gives Lester a shot at not only making a roster, but also a decent shot a starting job.

According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, Lester got some work with the first team during spring workouts, and has made a good impression.

Of course, the Panthers don’t have much to compete with, as he’s working alongside special teamer Haruki Nakamura, former Raiders draft reach Mike Mitchell and last year’s seventh-rounder D.J. Campbell for the starting job opposite Charles Godfrey.

And realizing that was one of the smart things he did when more than 10 teams called immediately after the draft trying to sign him.

“It worked out perfectly,” agent Pat Dye Jr. said. “I told Robert once you get beyond the fifth round – everyone’s making the rookie minimum anyway – you’re almost better off being able to pick your team.”

Lester’s slow 40 times (he ran a 4.66 at the Combine) were the reason he wasn’t one of nine Crimson Tide players drafted. He’s used to being overshadowed, as he was the fourth defensive back in Alabama’s secondary of first-rounders (Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick and Dee Milliner).

“It means that he’s been in big situations before,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said of playing at a high-profile program. “You know that his transition should not be as hard. It should be a relatively easy transition for him.”

Of course, signing with a team that has less secondary talent than he’s used to playing with also helps.

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14 Responses to “Undrafted from Alabama, Lester has chance to start”
  1. thirdistheworrd says: Jun 23, 2013 11:27 AM

    I don’t ever want to doubt a kid before steps out onto the field, but I watch a lot of SEC football, and I don’t think Lester has the talent to be a solid NFL player. He takes bad angles and makes mental mistakes in coverage, but doesn’t have the speed to compensate; he’s a poor tackler but doesn’t have the strength or explosiveness to compensate; and he redefines the phrase hands of stone; even if he was in perfect position, the dude could not catch a cold.

    That said, best of luck to him: I legitimately hope he proves me wrong and succeeds. In other words, I’m not sure what the point of this post is.

  2. humb0lt says: Jun 23, 2013 11:33 AM

    “former Raiders draft reach Mike Mitchell…”

    There are a lot of former Raiders draft reaches floating around the NFL these days, and at least one trying to get back in the League.

  3. finsphan says: Jun 23, 2013 1:03 PM

    I guess this ends the debate that ala is better than some nfl teams, then again it is the panthers, they wouldn’t even crack the top 10 in college. Still don’t understand how people said they would make the playoffs last year and giving them another shot this year again, especially since in the two years cam has been qb they only have two wins against teams with a winning record.

  4. oldbyrd says: Jun 23, 2013 2:50 PM

    They timed him with a calender. There are faster 300# plus off. lineman

  5. chowtime888 says: Jun 23, 2013 7:32 PM

    wait wait wait. a guy named “finsphan” aka a guy who has seen nothing but losing since Marino was QB, is bashing the Panthers? Our QB is better, our RBs are better, our WR/TEs are better (yeah, Steve Smith is 20 times better than Wallace), hell even the oline is better than Miami’s. As for defense, the Dolphins aren’t even close to the level of talent that Carolina has.

  6. scmems07 says: Jun 23, 2013 8:47 PM

    umm, chowtime, scam has beat nobody since in this league, you do know Miami’s d was 7th in the league last year and 1st in the red zone, Smith WAS better than Wallace, but not anymore and your second best receiver is a Miami cast off punt returner, only thing you got is maybe rb only because Miami’s are so young and I could still argue plus Tannehill already has beat 2 playoff teams last year with a worse team in your opinion. Get some facts before you try and talk.

  7. chowtime888 says: Jun 23, 2013 10:25 PM

    Facts, huh. Coming from someone who starts off with “scam” in his comment showing his lack of football knowledge before he’s five words in. Miami’s defense was 7th, very true. It’s tough trying to holding high-powered offenses like the Jets, Titans, Buffalo and Cardinals to low scores. Oh wait, they lost to all 4 of those teams, silly me. How dare I compare them to such weak offenses like Atlanta and New Orleans. You are absolutely right.

    And Smith isn’t a “was,” he’s an “is” and a “will always be.” Wallace was so good, Pitt decided Brown was a better receiver. Why? Because Wallace is a straight line, deep threat receiver that’s too afraid to go over the middle, make contact, or do anything remotely close to playing football. Smith, all 5’8″ of him, only goes out and wins jump balls in double coverage, breaks multiple tackles, takes on cheap shots by Saints players and has to be pulled off the guy because he forgot he just messed with THE Steve Smith. Miami was just so desperate for a No.1 that they were willing to pay for the hot name. Good luck! Running back isn’t even close, Miami doesn’t have a backfield, Carolina has the top 3 deepest in the NFL. Cameron Newton swept the Saints, and had the Falcons swept before Nakamura gave up a 66 yard catch. He had SEA on the ropes before Dwill fumbled on their own 20. He had Chicago on the ropes before the defense gave up a last second FG, same with Dallas, and Tampa. Dolphins lost 3 games by more than 20, and 5 by at least a TD. Carolina lost 2 by more than 6 points. I have no problems with the Dolphins, just want fans to remember who they are cheering on and who they are ripping on.

  8. scmems07 says: Jun 24, 2013 1:19 AM

    Silly Panthers fan, I’ll give you credit, your a true fan. Smith has 63 td’s in 12 yrs, Wallace has 32 in 4, strait line or not, production is production and d’s are forced to game plan for Wallace, not so much for Smith. if I didn’t know you were a Panthers fan I’d peg you for a Steelers guy. And all the shoulda woulda coulda stuff means nothing, great qb’s lead their teams to victories in crunch time, not throwing the ball in the dirt to a wide open tight end in the end zone to win the game or over throwing a 3 yrd dump off to a rb. If you want to like him because he celebrates when his team is getting blasted or pouts and puts his team under the bus when they lose then cool, but the fact is he has 32 games under his belt and has beaten nobody, Almost doesn’t count. If you want to count almost then the dolphins almost won 2 or 3 of their games which would have put them in the playoffs with a rookie qb, something cam will probably never see. Oh, and by the way, that dolphins d also had to hold scoring teams like the pats, niners, Seahawks (and won) and Texans, and the bills Offense was not bad, one of the best rushing teams.

  9. chowtime888 says: Jun 24, 2013 9:55 AM

    True fan or not, I’ve said my piece, my case is better based on facts, and I could likely defend anyone but the Chiefs and Cowgirls. A few closing notes.

    Don’t manipulate facts, it doesn’t look good when the other person actually knows what they’re talking about. Wallace has 32 in 4 years, yet his team didn’t see him valuable enough to keep over Brown. Wallace had Brown to draw coverage. Wallace also had Big Ben which is better than any QB Smitty has had and it’s not even close (yes, even Cam…for now). Smith also has not started 12 years, was injured for one, and catches at the 1-yard line are counted as a stat. You think people don’t game plan for Smith? He’s the biggest threat by far on the team, is constantly double-team, and yet he still ends up with over 100 yard games. They know he’s getting the ball and they still can’t stop him. Plus, Smith has passion, which is something Wallace can only read about.

    Next, Cam does make bad throws every now and then, but it was only his second year and NO QB is perfect. No QB ever has 100% completion rate and no QB ever goes the season without multiple INTs. Get used to it, it happens.

    Lastly, if you’re trying to convince anyone that the Texans are an offensive powerhouse, you’ve already lost that debate. The team relies on their defense and run game.

  10. carolinapantherfan1984 says: Jun 24, 2013 10:30 AM

    The Panthers play those dolphin turds this year guess this debate gets settled on the field. Don’t cats eat fish??

  11. scmems07 says: Jun 24, 2013 3:40 PM

    you guys are almost as much fun as seahawk fans!!!! and the texans were 7th last year in total yards and scored 26pts a game wich was also top 7 in the league……dude, do you try to look these things up at all, your arguments are baseless and pointless…..catches on the 1 yrd line!!!! and i dont remeber smith ever being double teamed, and i actually watch football, i like smith, have been a big fan of his for a long time. if you knew, pit could not afford the contract wallace was going to ask for, thats why he is gone, they offered him 10 mil a yr, your argument of wallace getting open because of brown can easily be reversed to favor brown as well so thats a dead argument. at least panthers fan1984 is logical, will be decided on the field.

  12. jgedgar70 says: Jun 24, 2013 4:45 PM

    “i dont remeber smith ever being double teamed, and i actually watch football”

    I’m willing to give you a Clinton pardon on this one, as the Panthers are rarely on the networks’ national broadcasts and thus many fans don’t see them. Smith has been double-teamed every game since Muhsin Muhammad retired (and the 3 years Moose was in Chicago).

    “Smith has 63 td’s in 12 yrs, Wallace has 32 in 4″

    Wallace has had Mike Tomlin as coach and Big Ben at QB. Smith had John Fox most of his career and superstar QBs like Chris Wienke, Rodney Peete, Vinny Testeverde, Brian St. Pierre and Jake Delhomme (who was really good for about 3 years). Put Wallace around some of that and he’s not making the big money today.

    I’m looking forward to the Panthers-Fins game. Both teams have worked hard to remake their rosters and have QBs that are fun to watch.

    Back to the subject of the post… Lester is a question mark, like most of our secondary candidates. I hope we can find 4 that can put it all together, because the front 7 is going to be very good.

  13. slammincamnewton says: Jun 24, 2013 8:41 PM

    Just for the record, the Panthers defense was 8th, and we don’t even get to play the Jets and Bills twice a year.

  14. slammincamnewton says: Jun 24, 2013 8:42 PM

    I also love when Dolphins fans come out of the woodwork when they think they are going to have a good year, then they quickly fade after a 2-6 start.

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