The 24-year-old former fifth-round pick fractured his leg in Week 14 last year, forcing him to miss the playoff run that ended in a Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos. By the time he took the practice field again, Carolina was operating without two of its best cornerbacks from last season -- Josh Norman and Charles Tillman.
"I get to go through individuals with them, get to do walk-throughs with them," Benwikere recently said, via the Charlotte Observer, "so there's a lot of things from my standpoint that I can teach them.
Benwikere, and the Panthers in general, will be a great test case in the talent vs. scheme debate this year. The team lost Jared Allen to retirement, Tillman to a torn ACL and free agency and Norman to a contract dispute. While the league's best front seven still trumps all, there was a loud segment of the NFL population suggesting that Norman's rise to elite status was more the product of Sean McDermott's defense than anything else.
While that might not be fair -- excellent pass rushes throughout history have lent themselves to aggressive corner play -- it does open Carolina up for examination in 2016. Benwikere seems ready to be both student and teacher.