Panthers Sign 4th Round LB Eric Norwood

The Carolina Panthers announced the signing fourth-round linebacker Eric Norwood.

Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reports the deal is worth $2.248 million dollars, including a $458,400 signing bonus.

A three-year starter at the University of South Carolina, Norwood played defensive end for two seasons before converting to outside linebacker before the 2008 season. In 51 career games, including 38 starts, Norwood recorded 255 tackles, including 54.5 for a loss and 29 quarterback sacks. Norwood recovered six fumbles, returning for touchdowns, and scored a touchdown on one of his two career interceptions.

Norwood was a first-team All-SEC selection at both defensive end (2007) and linebacker (2008-09), and was a first-team All-American selection after his senior season.

At the 2010 Scouting Combine, the 6-1, 242-pound Norwood ran the 40-yard dash in 4.71 seconds, and displayed nice athleticism with a 36.5" vertical leap and a 9'07" broad jump. Norwood pulled a pectoral muscle, but did post 21 reps on the bench press at his pro day on March 31.

Norwood is an excellent downhill linebacker, and while he's projected to play strong-side linebacker in the NFL, the Panthers could look at Norwood as an option on the weak-side with Thomas Davis expected to miss the 2010 season with a torn ACL.

Norwood is the seventh of the Panthers' 10 picks in the 2010 NFL Draft to sign a contract.

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