Panthers Position Review- Safety

One of the biggest changes for the Carolina Panthers is the retooled safety position with 2009's starter at SS Chris Harris traded to the Chicago Bears. Now the Panthers will lean on two players ready to make waves in 2010 was former FS Charles Godfrey will be transitioning to the SS position and 2nd year player Sherrod Martin will become the team's new starting FS.

It's important to note, however, that the traditional roles of SS and FS don't really apply in Ron Meeks cover-2 defense. In this scheme both safeties play similar roles outside of the occasional safety blitz, so throughout this breakdown there will not be delineation between the SS and FS players. So, let's take a look at our safeties...

After the jump...

Charles Godfrey: 5'11", 205 lbs; 3rd year- Iowa

Godfrey is one of those players who look unremarkable on Sunday's, but their numbers sneak up on you when the season is over. In 2009 Godfrey amassed 45 tackles and was second on the Panthers with 4 forced fumbles, despite only playing in 12 games. He'll be relied on heavily to help direct the Panthers' secondary, as has been customary for players in Godfrey's role. The primary area he'll need to work on is run defense, and he will need to become a better tackler to be reliable in 2010.

100% chance to make the roster, 95% chance to start



Sherrod Martin: 6'1", 198 lbs; 2nd year- Troy

When he was needed to fill injuries in the secondary Sherrod Martin shined. Over five games as a starter Martin registered 15 tackles, 5 passes defended and 3 interceptions. This lead many to question his role to stay on the bench as many believed he should have permanently replaced Charles Godfrey. Martin is a former cornerback/safety tweener who is a ball hawk regardless of position. The Panthers will hope these skills carry over into his role as a fulltime starter as Martin has the potential to be a very special player for the Carolina Panthers.

100% chance to make the roster, 95% chance to start



Jordan Pugh: 5'11", 196 lbs; Rookie- Texas A&M

It wasn't long after the 2010 draft that the front office revealed their intention to convert CB Jordan Pugh to safety for the 2010 season where he will likely back up Sherrod Martin. Pugh is a speedy, hard hitting player who has the natural instincts of a corner, but much like a lot of the Panthers' draft slipped due to teams not knowing what position he would project to at the next level. Pugh is my early season nomination for the Captain Munnerlyn award: A player taken late who has the greatest potential to play bigger than his draft position dictates.

90% chance to make the roster, 5% chance to start



Aaron Francisco: 6'2", 207 lbs; 6th year- BYU

The elder statesman of the Carolina Panthers secondary Francisco is slated to backup Charles Godfrey and also be an impact on special teams, a role he is very familiar with. Francisco spent several seasons with the Arizona Cardinals as their special teams' captain. He is a big bodied, hard hitting player who understands his role in the NFL and embraces his position in the league. Realistically, it's unlikely he'll be relied on outside of injury, but special teams are his primary focus and role he's happy in. I give him a 5% chance to start just because I think there's a possibility John Fox and Ron Meeks may like the idea of a veteran in the secondary and a player with a pedigree in run defense.

80% chance to make the roster, 5% chance to start



Marcus Hudson: 6'2", 200 lbs; 5th year- NC State

Hudson was brought in as a special teams player prior to the draft in which the Panthers took several defensive backs. Though Hudson has cut his teeth on special teams over the past five seasons it will be an uphill battle for the former Wolfpack player to make the roster given he will command more money than a cheaper player like Robert McClain or R.J Stanford who could fill special teams.

60% chance to make the roster

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