By Andrew Schuster @ShootsMcGavin on May 28, 2014
The Carolina Panthers had a rough offseason after parting ways with a handful of veterans, but they look to bounce back from their losses and have another strong performance in 2014. Organized team activities are a great way to get a glimpse of your team's future, so here are five storylines to follow during the Panthers' OTAs.
The Panthers said goodbye to long-time veteran Steve Smith over the offseason. Smith, who is now with the Baltimore Ravens, played 13 seasons in Carolina and is the team's all-time receiving yards leader. It will be much different without the Pro-Bowl wideout, so watching how the offense runs without him will be something to follow during OTAs and training camp.
After parting ways with Captain Munnerlyn, it looks like strong safety Charles Godfrey will be asked to play cornerback. He has seen time as a nickelback, but may now spend a majority of his time there or on the outside. It looks like the newly acquired SS Roman Harper will take over Godfrey's role, but this will be something to keep an eye on. Rookie CB Bene Benwikere should see a significant amount of playing time as well.
DE Greg Hardy may be forced to miss time after running into some trouble with the law. Kony Ealy was available at the end of the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft for Carolina. He has the potential to be a dominant pass rusher, but how effective will he be if he is thrown into the starting defense from the get-go? Look for him to get significant reps with the first team to give him an idea of what the competition level is like in the pros.
Carolina selected Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin in the first round of the draft. After losing a handful of veteran wideouts to free agency, he may be asked to pick up the slack. At 6-foot-5, Benjamin becomes an immediate red zone target, but he lacks the ideal speed and route running skills. A strong performance in OTAs and training camp will be something to watch for.
The Panthers brought in a boatload of new receivers after the loss of so many, but they won't be catching passes from their starting QB until at least July. Cam Newton had surgery in March to repair ligament damage in his ankle; he's not supposed to see the field for another two months. Derek Anderson and Joe Webb are both taking snaps with the first team, so let's see if Newton and his receivers can quickly form a chemistry when he returns.
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