Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today

Carolina Panthers Sophomore Spotlight: Dean Marlowe

The Carolina Panthers will have a new starting safety in 2016 with the departure of Roman Harper. Could Dean Marlowe step into the starting role in his second season?

The Carolina Panthers signed Dean Marlowe as an undrafted free agent after the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before the Carolina Panthers

Season Games Total Tackles Tackles for a Loss Passes Defended Fumble Recoveries
2011 13 71 2.5 6 0
2012 11 82 5.0 7 0
2013 12 77 0.5 8 1
2014 13 96 5.5 9 1

*Stats courtesy of James Madison University

What the Analysts Said

"An athletically limited safety with the demeanor to play near the line of scrimmage but currently lacks the bulk to do so consistently as a tackler. Technique needs a ton of work in coverage and could limit his ability to make a roster until he improves in that area."

-Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

"He displays good play speed for the position with the range to cover seam routes and handle backs out of the backfield. Marlowe has a lanky build and lacks ideal functional strength, but physically attacks the ball in the air, making it tough on receivers to finish completions. He isn't a shy tackler and brings his big boy pants in run support, but needs to show the same aggressiveness in zone to click and close on underneath targets, allowing too many completions due to streaky cover anticipation.

Marlowe will struggle to shadow in man coverage with tight transitional skills in space. He put together an above average resume at the FCS level and his coaches speak highly on his football character, but his average athleticism and strength will be tough to mask in the NFL."

-Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

2015 Season

Marlowe started the year on the Panthers' practice squad after a strong preseason that included 12 total tackles, one interception and two passes defended. He was moved up to the active roster towards the end of the season and was active for four of the final seven games last year. However, he did not register any stats in those four games.

2016 Season

Before the start of last season, head coach Ron Rivera had this to say about Marlowe: “He’s a long ways away from where we need him to be, but he’s a young guy that’s got a chance. He’ll grow. A good year of seasoning, a good year of opportunity to watch and grow. I think he’s going to be a quality football player some day.”

The hope is that "some day" is this upcoming season as Marlowe should step into a more prominent role in this defense. The loss of Roman Harper means the team will be looking for a starting safety and the assumption is that Tre Boston will move into that role.

If that is the case, Marlowe would most likely become the team's primary backup at the safety position and be the first person off the bench. It will be interesting to see how much Marlowe has developed over the last year and how much improvement he shows in training camp.

Twitter @BrandonCroce

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