"This is voluntary, so I appreciate the fact that we've had every player here," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said. "This has been a very good three days for us. The guys have come out and worked hard, doing exactly what we've asked."
While everyone was present, not all players were able to participate fully, and the status of guys on that list is actually more newsworthy than most of what happened in drills.
Linebacker Jon Beason, who is coming off three surgeries in the past 17 months, did more work than some expected. The three-time Pro Bowler took part in individual workouts and ran 20 50-yard wind sprints after practice. Beason claimed he will be ready for the start of training camp, and he certainly looks on track.
Offensive tackles Jordan Gross and Ryan Kalil, who are also rehabbing from surgeries, worked in the conditioning and installation periods but sat out offense vs. defense drills.
Jonathan Stewart, meanwhile, was "very limited." The oft-injured running back had offseason ankle surgery and spent most of Thursday's workout on the bike.
Defensive back Captain Munnerlyn had a similar schedule as Stewart. Munnerlyn is battling an abdominal strain, or as Rivera called it, "a tummy strain."
The Panthers have two more weeks of OTAs left before their mandatory minicamp. And while this may not be the most exciting part of the year, it is the start of building the foundation of what's to come.
"You start from scratch every year with installs, and you have to teach new guys and get them up to speed. But the future looks pretty good," tight end Greg Olsen said.
Thanks to the standardization of rookie contracts in the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Panthers signed all five of their draft picks in less than two days.
First-round pick defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, second-round defensive tackle Kawann Short and fourth-round guard Edmund Kugbila signed on the dotted line Wednesday, while fifth-round linebacker A.J. Klein and sixth-round running back Kenjon Barner wrapped up their deals on Thursday.
One of the Panthers' relatively intriguing position battles will be the fight for the No. 3 receiver spot.
The front-runners are a couple free-agent signees, Ted Ginn and Domenik Hixon. The latter won two Super Bowl rings during his seven years with the Giants, but injuries have held him back.
Last season, he played in 13 games, snagging 39 passes for 567 yards and a couple scores. Those numbers are a slight improvement over Louis Murphy, who caught 25 passes for 336 yards and a touchdown as Carolina's No. 3 receiver last year.
The Browns and Lions were reportedly also interested in Hixson's services this offseason, but ultimately, he felt his best fit was in Carolina.
"To me, the Panthers are a team that's going up and going up in a hurry," Hixon said. "There's so much talent here. I saw that on day one on the field."
In 2002, the Panthers took a chance on Al Wallace, a defensive end who hadn't played a game in three years. Wallace responded by giving Carolina five successful seasons, racking up 17 sacks and 141 tackles.
Eleven years later, the Panthers are taking on another reclamation project in the form of defensive tackle Colin Cole. The former Seahawk injured his ankle in 2010, and hasn't played in an NFL game since.
After Cole underwent four surgeries on the ankle, he was released by Seattle prior to the 2011 season. He had some discussions with teams last year, but ultimately stayed out of football for a second straight season.
The Panthers reached out and signed him this winter, giving him a shot to resurrect his career.
"I don't think words can really describe how excited I am to have another opportunity to get out on the football field," said Cole. "As far as the last couple of years, they just serve to fuel the fire for me to get back on the gridiron and compete more than I have at any time in my career."
"I'm not too far from the top of the league right now. I talk a lot of trash, so I'm trying to make sure I step my game up from where it was and try not to make as many mistakes."—DE Greg Hardy, whose confidence doesn't need massaging after his 11-sack season in 2012.
A closer look at the Panthers' picks:
Round 1/14—Star Lotulelei, DT, 6-3, 311, Utah
The Panthers were very high on Lotulelei coming into the draft, but they weren't sure if he'd fall to them. When he did, they wasted no time taking him. He could provide the huge presence Carolina's been missing in the middle of its defensive line for years.
Round 2/44—Kawann Short, DT, 6-3, 308, Purdue
Even though they had bigger glaring holes in their secondary, the Panthers used their second pick on another defensive tackle. Short was at the top of their board at the time, and they're going to use the talented pass rusher in a rotation with Lotulelei and veteran Dwan Edwards.
Round 4/108—Edmund Kugbila, OG, 6-4, 317, Valdosta State
The Panthers need some depth on their offensive line, and Kugbila could immediately compete at guard. The native of Ghana may have lasted another round, but Carolina obviously saw enough in him to not risk waiting.
Round 5/148—A.J. Klein, LB, 6-1, 251, Iowa State
Klein should find immediate roles as a backup linebacker and on special teams. He could also be in the Panthers' future plans as a starter if this ends up being linebacker Jon Beason's final season in Charlotte.
Round 6/182—Kenjon Barner, RB, 5-9, 196, Oregon
With DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert already on the roster, this certainly wasn't a "need" pick. Barner could see action as a returner in 2013, and he could be groomed to be Williams' future successor.
DE Antwan Applewhite, who was limited to just five games because of injury last year, may be brought back. The Panthers could use him for depth at defensive end.
S Sherrod Martin won't be back. The former starter lost his job in the 2012 preseason and an ACL tear cut short his time last year.
(not tendered offers)
DT Andre Neblett (not tendered as RFA) missed time last year with a suspension and injury. The Panthers might bring him back to help out their weak defensive tackle position.
CB Nate Ness (not tendered as RFA), who was waived after suffering a concussion in the preseason, may get a training camp invite, but he won't make the final roster.
DT Star Lotulelei (1/14): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
DT Kawann Short (2/44): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
G Edmund Kugbila (4/108): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
LB A.J. Klein (5/148): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
RB Kenjon Barner (6/182): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
QB Derek Anderson: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
TE Richie Brockel: ERFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
DT Dwan Edwards: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
TE Ben Hartsock: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
CB Captain Munnerlyn: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
LB Jordan Senn: Potential UFA; terms unknown.
LB Chase Blackburn: UFA Giants; terms unknown.
DT Colin Cole: FA; terms unknown.
CB Drayton Florence: UFA Lions; 1 yr, terms unknown.
WR/KR Ted Ginn: UFA 49ers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
WR Domenik Hixon: UFA Giants; $1.2M/1 yr, $250,000 SB.
S Mike Mitchell: UFA Raiders; $840,000/1 yr.
CB D.J. Moore: UFA Bears; 1 yr, terms unknown.
LB James Anderson (released/post-June 1 designation).
TE Gary Barnidge: UFA Browns; $3.75M/3 yrs, $650,000 SB.
DT Ron Edwards (released).
CB Chris Gamble (released).
DE Thomas Keiser (released).
WR Louis Murphy: UFA Giants; 1 yr, terms unknown.
LB Kenny Onatolu (released).
LB Jason Phillips: UFA Eagles; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
G Mike Pollak: UFA Bengals; $780,000/1 yr.
C/G Zack Williams (released).