"When I walked in the building I could see a new energy out of him, like a glow, charisma that I didn't really see in New York,'' said Anderson, who played with Darnold in 2018-19. "I can definitely see the difference in him so far.''
Anderson was the only Carolina player not seen by media for any of the voluntary portions of on-the-field offseason workouts.
So Tuesday, the first of a three-day mandatory camp, was the first time Anderson had a chance to work with Darnold since the Jets' 2019 finale against Buffalo when they connected three times for 18 yards.
"You know when a person can see like a glow, energy, their aura?'' Anderson said. "I could kind of see that when I walked in the building."
Anderson was Darnold's favorite target with the Jets. He had 102 catches for 1,431 yards and 11 touchdowns during their time together.
Stopping short of making a prediction, Anderson expects better things for them in Joe Brady's system at Carolina, where in 2020 Anderson had a career-best 95 catches for 1,096 yards and three touchdowns.
"The New York system was a little more complex, had a lot of nuances that was more difficult for everybody, not just him, not just me,'' Anderson said. "This system is a little more graspable."
New Carolina edge rusher Haason Reddick hasn't played with Darnold before, but he likes what he has seen.
"Sam's completing passes,'' said Reddick, an offseason free-agent signing from Arizona. "It looks like he's playing intelligent football.''
Coach Matt Rhule just wants Darnold, who struggled with consistency with the Jets, completing only 59.8% of his passes and going 13-25 as the starter, to continue playing "good'' football in practice.
"I don't want him to have great days right now ... just steady progress to make good days roll into great days,'' he said of the quarterback Carolina traded for before the draft.
Anderson, who should help Darnold's growth because of their past chemistry, didn't go into detail on why he stayed in South Florida throughout the voluntary portions of OTAs.
"I'm to the point of my career where I know how to get myself ready,'' he said. "So it wasn't nothing against the team or nothing like that. I feel I capitalized on this time. The work I was putting in with my trainer, I was on a good program.
"I didn't want to step away from that.''
Rhule said it was great to have Anderson back even though Anderson wasn't in all the team drills.
"Robby is a guy that brings energy to the practice field,'' he said. "He's in great shape. You can tell he's been working hard. We had a goal of like three to four reps in a team drills. I'm not going to over-rep anybody.''