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Panthers sign DT Lotulelei, G Kugbila


CHARLOTTE – The Panthers' flurry of draft choice signings continued Thursday when first-round defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and fourth-round guard Edmund Kugbila signed on the dotted line.

Wednesday, in the midst of the Panthers' first week of organized team activities, second-round defensive tackle Kawann Short became the first of the team's 2013 draft picks to sign. Fifth-round linebacker A.J. Klein and sixth-round running back Kenjon Barner haven't yet signed, but with the standardization of rookie contracts in the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, it's only a matter of time.

"Star gives us an impactful three-down defensive lineman, and Edmund has a lot of natural ability and upside that we will work to develop," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "We look forward to seeing both players contribute to the team."

The 6-2, 311-pound Lotulelei dominated the line of scrimmage at Utah the past two seasons. He was an All-American last season and the winner of the 2011 Morris Trophy that goes to the best defensive lineman in the PAC-12 as voted on by the conference's offensive linemen.


Kugbila, a 6-4, 317-pounder out of Valdosta State, also capped his college career with two dominant seasons. After shifting from right tackle to right guard as a junior, Kubgila delivered 36 touchdown-resulting blocks while not allowing a sack over his final two seasons and wrapped up his career with a Division II national championship.

"It's a big moment," Kugbila said. "It's a dream come true, and now I'm officially a Carolina Panther. Putting my name on the dotted line means a lot, but I've still got to work. They're paying me money to do a job."

In addition to the recent rookie signings, the Panthers claimed linebacker Ryan Rau off waivers from the Cleveland Browns. The Panthers also waived/injured tight end Logan Brock, one of nine tryouts players added to the roster following the team's recent rookie minicamp.

Rau, an undrafted rookie out of Portland State in 2012, played in four games late last season for the Philadelphia Eagles, recording three tackles. He spent most of his rookie season on the Eagles practice squad and was claimed off waivers by the Browns last month.

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