CHRIS KEANE/Associated Press
The Panthers drafted three defensive players in this year's draft with the selections of Kony Ealy (60th), Tre Boston (128th) and Bene Benwikere (148th). According to Bryan Strickland at Panthers.com, all three players will probably be used in a variety of ways.
Ealy could someday replace either Greg Hardy or Charles Johnson, but in 2014, he could be on the field with them. Using the philosophy instilled by Gettleman's former New York colleague (and former Carolina head coach) John Fox, Rivera could use Kony as that quick defensive lineman battling in the trenches creating mismatches. As noted earlier, Ealy could see some playing time by lining up at defensive tackle.
Boston has experience as a cornerback, but he will most likely be used as a safety. Boston told the Panthers' website he believes he can offer a variety of different looks while in the defense:
"They see me as a safety. If I have to I could play both, but I'm coming in to play safety. I'm not just one type of safety. I can ball-hawk and I can come up and play in the box."
It should be interesting to see how he fares in a position battle that features proven veterans Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud in the mix and up-and-coming talent Robert Lester right behind them. If anything, Boston offers a bit of depth, and he could eventually have a future in the secondary if all goes well.
Carolina traded up to acquire Benwikere, and he could move into a cornerback role later on in his career. He projects to be playing on the outside and at nickel corner. Gettleman was impressed with his ability to play and defend passes, which was the driving force to trade up for him.
There will be plenty of youth on the Carolina defense in 2014, but like last year, there is a good mixture of veterans and young players who can make the Panthers competitive.