Position preview: Defensive tackles


The Panthers' defensive tackles didn't compile huge individual numbers in 2013, but they collectively played a massive role in Carolina ranking second in the NFL in total defense and scoring defense.

All of the key cogs are back in 2014 to form a nice mix of rapidly developing youngsters and time-proven veterans.

Star Lotulelei
One of the league's top rookies in 2013, the 14th overall selection started every game in the middle of the Panthers' powerful defensive front. … Posted 47 tackles and 11 quarterback hurries while recording his first three career sacks at the expense of an impressive trio of quarterbacks – Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Matt Ryan. … Named All-Rookie by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) and tied for fourth in NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.

Kawann Short
The Panthers' second-round draft choice in 2013, Short also was named All-Rookie by PFWA. … Didn't start any games but started making an impact right away, finishing with 33 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. … Speedy rusher for his size (6-3, 315), Short tied for second on the team with 21 quarterback pressures.

Dwan Edwards
Played in just 11 games in 2013 but still posted 20 tackles, three sacks, 15 quarterback pressures and two fumble recoveries. … After recording a career-high six sacks in his first season with Carolina in 2012, Edwards began 2013 as a starter before a hamstring injury sidelined him for five games. … Enjoyed seven productive seasons with Baltimore and Buffalo before coming to Carolina.

Colin Cole
Made a successful return after being out of the NFL for two seasons, playing in 15 games and starting 13 in his first season with the Panthers in 2013. … Recorded 19 tackles, one sack and three quarterback pressures. … Played eight seasons with four teams before missing the 2011 and 2012 seasons recovering from an ankle injury. … A renowned run stopper in Seattle before coming to Carolina, Cole helped the Panthers rank second in run defense last season.

Casey Walker
Spent seven games as a rookie in 2013 on the Panthers' practice squad. … Four-year contributor at Oklahoma produced 49 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Linden Gaydosh
Spent rookie season in 2013 on injured reserve after suffering a back injury during training camp. … Selected first overall in the 2013 Canadian Football League draft but signed with the Panthers after taking part in a rookie minicamp as an invited tryout.



Drake Nevis
Claimed off waivers in May from Jacksonville, where he played in the 2013 regular season finale. … Spent most of 2013 with Dallas, appearing in 11 games and recording 16 tackles before being waived. … Third-round draft pick by Indianapolis in 2011 spent his first two seasons with the Colts, notching 39 tackles and one sack in 14 games.


Shaq Rowell
Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in May. … Two-year starter at West Virginia produced 47 tackles as a senior and 42 in 2012.

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