Panthers expected to turn attention to defense in NFL draft

NFL Draft

CHARLOTTE, NC – MARCH 04: A general view of the Carolina Panthers Bank of America Stadium as the NFL lockout looms on March 4, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Carolina Panthers will look to upgrade their defense in the NFL draft after losing nine starters from last year’s unit, including five-time All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly.

Edge rusher Mario Addison and top cornerback James Bradberry left via free agency, while veteran safety Eric Reid was released.

The only returning defensive tackle is two-time Pro Bowler Kawann Short and he didn’t even play last season because of an injury.

The only returning starters from last season are linebacker Shaq Thompson and safety Tre Boston.

That leaves the Panthers with some significant holes to fill.

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