Five Carolina Panthers Position Battles to Watch

06/13/2013 7:12 PM

08/08/2014 12:52 AM

There are a number of starting spots up for grabs when the Panthers get to Spartanburg for training camp, including these five:

No. 3 receiver – Former Giants WR Domenik Hixon was signed to fill this role. But he missed minicamp with a hamstring injury, and receiver/returner Ted Ginn Jr. played well in his absence.

Right guard – Veteran Geoff Hangartner struggled at times last season, and will be pushed by Edmund Kugbila – assuming the rookie gets healthy. Kugbila, a fourth-round pick from Division II Valdosta State, missed the majority of OTAs and minicamp with a left knee injury.

No. 2 tight end – Ben Hartsock showed this spring he can do more than block. The X-factor could be Brandon Williams, the former Oregon TE and small-college basketball player who was out for minicamp following arthroscopic knee surgery.

Both cornerback spots – With Captain Munnerlyn out with an abdominal strain, Josh Thomas and Josh Norman took the bulk of the reps. Free agent pickup Drayton Florence provided a veteran presence and got his hands on a lot of passes.

Strong safety – This is a wide-open competition involving free agent acquisition Mike Mitchell , second-year safety D.J. Campbell , who started at the end of last season, and undrafted rookie Robert Lester , who won two national titles at Alabama.

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