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May 08, 2011

More on Panthers' other Auburn pick-up

The man who had Cam Newton's back (side) at Auburn is a smart, funny guy with a huge frame.

Whether Lee Ziemba can play offensive tackle in the NFL remains to be seen.

But he's big -- 6-6 and 317 -- started a school-record 52 games for the Tigers and won the Jacobs Trophy last year as the SEC's best blocker.

Ziemba did not have a good combine. And there were concerns about his knee following surgery to repair a torn meniscus two years ago.

But getting him in the seventh round seems like a pretty good deal for the Panthers. There's little financial risk, and potentially a high reward.

A few leftovers that didn't make it into Sunday's story on the second player in Panthers' history whose last name begins with a Z. (Jeff Zgonina, a nose tackle on the '95 expansion team, is the other.)

Though he played left tackle his final three years at Auburn, Ziemba said the Panthers plan to use him at right tackle initially. Ziemba played the right side at the Senior Bowl, where he had a strong performance.

Ziemba wasted little time trying to track down the Panthers' playbook. He reached out to veteran linemen Travelle Wharton and Jordan Gross after he was drafted, and was scheduled to drive from Auburn to Atlanta on Saturday to go over the playbook with Newton.

As for Newton, Ziemba marveled at the way Newton handled the pay-for-play firestorm that threatened to derail Auburn's championship season and Newton's Heisman campaign.

"That guy, he's amazing the way he dealt with it," Ziemba said. "It really fueled him and brought out the best in him. He played with a passion, and he loves the game. You certainly could see that playing with him.

"I never heard a guy laugh during a game as much as he does. The kid loves to play football. It's incredible."

--Joseph Person


Posted by Observer Sports on May 8, 2011 at 08:21 AM | Permalink


Good article

Posted by: Ramblin' Jack Elliot | May 8, 2011 9:18:16 PM

it is nice to hear some positive thoughts about cam, even if it did come from his college teammate

Posted by: delusions of grandeur | May 8, 2011 11:59:30 PM

Looks like a just a typical liberal equalization rig token white boy pc pick to take the heat off the Newton scandal.

Erase ... tick tick tick tick ....

Posted by: token pick | May 9, 2011 6:46:28 AM

I think this guy is going to end up starting in the NFL for 6-8 years at right tackle. Good pick Panthers! Now keep him around - unlike some of the other solid OL guys you have drafted in late rounds and let move on to other teams and start....

Posted by: TopScout | May 9, 2011 9:37:34 AM

Guess only reason they picked him up late in the draft and that he was still around was because of...well....knee problems. A real pain in the rear thing to deal with in the pros. We all know too well with the whole Jeff Otah thing lol

Posted by: Ash | May 9, 2011 10:23:11 AM

ANOTHER BUST FROM AUBURN...only 2-3 of this years draft will make the team Mclain and Hogan if his knee heals and stays out of jail and with the quality of USFA's out there the team could have more UDFA's make the team than the drafted one's. This makes sense why Rivera waited so long for a HC job!..Hurnia put your house up for sale!

Posted by: John Fox | May 9, 2011 11:29:17 AM


Posted by: John Fox | May 9, 2011 11:30:40 AM

With all due respect if a 7th rounder doesnt make it, its not a bust. Get out of your world of hate and get in the real world.

Posted by: Jason Warren | May 9, 2011 11:32:24 AM

Could be a winner for the Panthers. I'll take the on-the-field credentials (SEC O-Lineman of the Year, 52 starts) over the poor showing at the combine in a heart beat. Even if he "only" develops into a competent back-up role player, that's a successful 7th round pick.

Posted by: Big Drew | May 9, 2011 4:45:20 PM

Considering Otah's injury struggles this could end up being a great pick.

Posted by: Tyler | May 9, 2011 9:55:46 PM

Good pick for the Panthers...glad to have him.

Posted by: Dana | May 10, 2011 12:39:32 PM

Everywhere I have read people in the NFL are saying that prodays and the combine are overrated. Sure it gives you a look at the guys up close, but doing drills in shorts isn't quite the same as game day. Its the game film that you really need to go off of. I'm going to hold off condeming this draft until it blows up in our faces....that doesn't mean I loved the draft by the way.

Posted by: Adam | May 10, 2011 12:59:40 PM

Well said Jason.

Posted by: nasty 704 | May 10, 2011 7:37:15 PM

ESPN.com: Panthers WR Smith clears air on trade rumors..Hey sport writers why not write about steve smith saying he never ask for a trade and do not want to be traded, why do espn have to report our local news first, before you guys do?????

Posted by: panther nation | May 11, 2011 8:25:59 PM

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