By Walker Clement
We are 28 days away from the beginning of the Carolina Panthers 2018 season. That means today we take a closer look at the Panthers 2018 third round pick, safety Rashaan Gaulden. That also means we’re exactly 4 weeks away from football.
Weight: 200 lbs
NFL Experience: Rookie
Rashaan Gaulden is the first safety drafted by the Carolina Panthers since Tre Boston. The safety position has never been particularly valued when constructing Rivera’s defenses so it is no surprise that it has taken the Panthers this long to address what many of us have long considered a shaky position on the roster.
Gaulden fits the mold that Rivera has seemingly often sought when filling out his roster: he’s a little bit older than his peers, not quite as a fast, and highly effective at crashing downfield to stop the run.
Gaulden has already started turning heads at training camp with a few impressive plays, not to mention at least one unnecessary hit, but don’t look for him to crack the starting line up any time soon. Rivera loves playing veterans more than league commissioner Roger Goodell loves bungling a public relations crisis. Mike Adams played serviceably as a strong safety — Gaulden’s natural position — last year and won’t loose his job to anything short of hip replacement surgery. Expect the rookie to feature heavily in the rotation at strong safety, and possibly in more run-balanced big nickel formations, for 2018. The starting job should definitely be on the table for him next...