After the NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers were able to sign Jeremy Cash, who won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year as a safety. The fit made sense for this defense as the team was in need of a strong safety after releasing Roman Harper.
However, the team envisions Cash as an outside linebacker and that is the position is expected to play in this defense.
"He's a linebacker. We got him to be a linebacker," director of college scouting Don Gregory said. "He's 205, has been as heavy as 215, 220. He's got a frame to get bigger. We see him as an outside linebacker. His production translates to outside linebacker for us."
The team has had a great deal of success over the years transitioning players who played safety at college to the linebacker position. Last year, the team selected Shaq Thompson in the first round after he played both linebacker and safety for the Washington Huskies.
The strongest case though may be Thomas Davis, who played safety for the Georgia Bulldogs. He has gone on to become one of the premier outside linebackers in the league and earned his first Pro Bowl selection this past year.
In his three years at Duke, Cash showed a tremendous tackling ability with over 100 tackles each season and did an excellent job making plays behind the line of scrimmage.
One of the biggest questions about him was whether or not he had the range to play safety at the next level. However as an outside linebacker he won't be asked to drop back that far into coverage, which should minimize this weakness of his game.
There is sure to be a learning curve for Cash however he couldn't be in a better situation with the Panthers who know how to help players make this transition.