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Carolina Panthers Have Drastically Changed the Cornerback Position

In a short time frame of only four months, the Carolina Panthers have completely changed the cornerback position, including their most recent move to release Brandon Boykin. We take a look at the changes made over the past few months.

The Carolina Panthers have made drastic changes to their secondary since Super Bowl 50, which took place less than four months ago. It is clear that GM Dave Gettleman has a vision for this part of the defense and is going to stick to that plan. This is how the position has changed since the last time the Panthers were on the football field.

Super Bowl 50 March* April* May*
Outside Cornerback Josh Norman Josh Norman Bene Benwikere Bene Benwikere
Outside Cornerback Robert McClain Bene Benwikere James Bradberry James Bradberry
Nickelback Cortland Finnegan Brandon Boykin Brandon Boykin Zack Sanchez

*Projected Starters

The overhaul really took place between March and April as the team placed the franchise tag on Josh Norman and signed Boykin as a free agent to a one-year deal. The thought was that he would solidify the nickel position and replace Cortland Finnegan, who at most was a temporary solution. 

The front office was hoping to be able to workout a long-term deal with Norman but when they realized this was not possible, they rescinded the franchise tag and made him a free agent. This has now moved third-year player Bene Benwikere, into the role of top cornerback. 

During the NFL Draft, the Panthers focused heavily on the cornerback position by using three of their five picks on the position. This is most likely one of the reasons the team felt confident in releasing Boykin after seeing their rookie group on the field this past weekend during the rookie minicamp.

There is no question that Gettleman has a plan and that appears to be at this point a youth movement at cornerback. The Panthers only have two players at the position with more than three years of experience (Robert McClain and Teddy Williams with five years). This would be considered a risky strategy but the Panthers' have one of the best front seven in the league that will try to take pressure off an inexperienced group.

Twitter @BrandonCroce

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