Skip to main content

Panthers coach: It's an 'easy transition' for rookie CBs

The Carolina Panthers were in desperate need of cornerback depth heading into the 2016 NFL Draft after the club rescinded Josh Norman's franchise tag in April.

The Panthers raised eyebrows after they added three cornerbacks in the draft: James Bradberry (second round, No. 62 overall), Daryl Worley (third round, No. 77 overall), Zack Sanchez (fifth round, No. 141 overall) -- a move that general manager Dave Gettleman insisted wasn't made in haste.

Assistant head coach (and secondary coach) Steve Wilks said he did his research while searching to fill the team's void. Wilks met all three rookies for pre-draft visits at Bank of America Stadium, in addition to private workouts on the road. The additional time, partnered with what Wilks saw from the prospective players' game film proved the trio belonged in Carolina.

"They're smart. They're long. They can run. They're physical. That's what we like about them," Wilks told the team's official website. "Right now they're just going through the process. ... I think it's going to be an easy transition. They've just got to get up to speed."

The Panthers' brass gave their vote of confidence for the rookies by releasing veteran cornerBrandon Boykin last week. The move was a surprising transaction considering Boykin signed a one-year deal in March. Boykin's absence leaves Bene' Benwikere the only other corner who has logged more than one season on the Panthers' defense. However, Benwikere is rehabbing a broken leg, an injury sustained in December.

Despite the lack of veterans to aid with the development of his rookie cornerbacks, Wilks isn't experiencing buyer's remorse.

"I think we targeted the right guys, and we got the guys that we wanted," Wilks said. "They're learning. They're picking things up very quickly, which is great."

The Panthers open organized team activities (OTAs) Tuesday.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content