Panthers Camp preview: Former Pro Bowl safeties ready to ignite secondary


We’ve been getting you ready for Carolina Panthers Training Camp the past couple of weeks, previewing every position on offense, as well as the defensive line, linebackers, and cornerbacks. Now it’s time to look at the safeties.

Last year, two free agent signings paid huge dividends at the safety position. Quintin Mikell played in 14 games, but the real star was Mike Mitchell, who had previously underachieved in his career but performed well enough to earn a $25 million contract from the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason. This season, once again, the two projected starters are new to the Panthers, though they are certainly familiar faces.

Thomas DeCoud and Roman Harper have both been in the NFC South for a while now: Harper with the New Orleans Saints, where he earned Pro Bowl berths in 2009 and 2010, and DeCoud with the Atlanta Falcons, where he earned a Pro Bowl berth in 2012. Now the two veterans will team up in Carolina, hoping to re-ignite their careers and the Panthers secondary.

It’s crucial that DeCoud and Harper perform well, as there isn’t much depth to speak of. If DeCoud or Harper underachieve and/or get hurt, the top backup is 2013 undrafted free agent Robert Lester. Behind Lester is this year’s fourth round pick Tre Boston, who many experts felt was overdrafted, and career special-teamer Colin Jones.

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