Even though Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera couldn’t stop himself from looking to the future with draft picks Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short, he mentioned two undrafted defensive backs who stood out the most to him Friday.

At the first day of rookie camp, former Alabama safety Robert Lester and former Louisiana-Lafayette cornerback Melvin White were the two players who made the greatest impression on the Panthers’ third-year coach.

“The two guys we felt really good about, who we thought were draftable was the safety from Alabama… and I really liked Melvin White,” Rivera said after the two-hour session. “He’s another guy we felt had a chance to get drafted and didn’t unfortunately. I think those two guys really showed well today.”

The defensive backfield was the biggest need the Panthers did not address in the draft in April. The team took two defensive tackles and a linebacker with three of its five draft picks, and added journeyman CB Drayton Florence, CB D.J. Moore and S Mike Mitchell in free agency.

Both White and Lester are among the 18 players signed by the team, while 36 are tryout players hoping to get a contract and the remaining five are draft picks.

“Really, the good tell-tale will be when we get an opportunity to watch the tape, to be honest with you, because there were so many good things that did happen,” Rivera said. “The real good test will be (Saturday). The guys will have a day under their belt, they’re a little bit more into the playbook and we’ll really see where they are: How many guys retain the things, what type of retention level these guys have. And really I think it’ll be a chance to see who has a chance to help us as we go down the line.”

The team will have two two-hour sessions Saturday, with the first in the late morning and the second in the afternoon. The practices are closed to the public.

Zordich’s Road: Sometimes players throw around the word ‘adversity’ when describing what they went through in college.