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Projected 2014 starters: Carolina Panthers

Around The League predicts the Week 1 starting lineups for all 32 teams, analyzing the potential impact of each rookie class. Click here for the complete series breakdown.


Carolina Panthers Projected 2014 Starters
Offense
Defense
QB
DE
RB
DT
FB
DT
WR1
DE
WR2
MLB
TE
WLB
LT
CB1
LG
CB2
C
CB3
RG
SS
RT
FS


» After bottoming out at the receiver position, Carolina found a placeholder No. 1 in Jerricho Cotchery before adding Kelvin Benjamin with the 28th overall draft pick. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound pass-catcher out of Florida State arrives as a jump-ball master with an 83-inch wingspan. Newcomers Jason Avant and Tiquan Underwood round out an underwhelming cast of targets -- one reason Carolina is the rare team with a fullback baked into its base scheme.

» The O-line remains a mess, with Byron Bell looming as this year's bookend and Garry Williams penciled in to move from guard to right tackle. The newcomer here is LSU's Trai Turner, chosen No. 92 overall and a strong bet to open the year inside at right guard alongside rock-solid center Ryan Kalil. With this unit still in flux, look for Carolina to mine the waiver wire for available talent between now and September.

» With cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and safeties Mike Mitchell and Quintin Mikell out the door, the Panthers have recycled their secondary. Carolina's refurbished safety duo features former Saint Roman Harper and ex-Falcon Thomas DeCoud. Holdover Melvin White will start at corner alongside free-agent addition Antoine Cason for a defense primed to play plenty of nickel with Charles Godfrey in the slot.

» The nasty front seven remains intact with one intriguing addition in the form of second-round pick Kony Ealy, who will see snaps at end behind the disruptive duo of Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson. Carolina's brightest hope to return to the playoffs is another dominant campaign from the first wave of Ron Rivera's edgy D.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" plays the post-draft version of the game "What's More Likely" and breaks down all the latest news.

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