Posted on May 10, 2014 at 3:37 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers addressed needs in their secondary on Day 3 of the NFL draft, selecting a safety and a cornerback.
Carolina took North Carolina safety Tre Boston in the fourth round, then traded up 20 spots in the fifth round with Minnesota to take San Jose State cornerback Bene' Benwikere with the 148th pick.
The Panthers sent the Vikings their fifth- and seventh-round picks as part of the trade.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Boston played two seasons at cornerback for the Tar Heels before moving to safety, where he earned second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors as a senior tallying a team-high 85 tackles and four interceptions.
He finished with 12 interceptions during his college career.
He said he feels comfortable playing free safety or strong safety.
"I can ball hawk, and I can come play in the box," Boston said. "I believe I'm an all-around guy who can do it all."
Boston joins what has become a crowded group at safety that includes five-year starter Charles Godfrey, who missed 14 games last year with a torn Achilles, free agent acquisitions Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud and last year's top rookie reserve Robert Lester.
Carolina's starting safety tandem from last year is gone. Free safety Mike Mitchell signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Panthers chose not to re-sign free agent Quintin Mikell.
Boston said he's excited about joining the league's No. 2-ranked defense from last season.
"It's a dream to play on this defense with how they great they are," Boston said. "Just talking about it I'm just getting chills because I know I can learn so much from those guys."
The 6-foot, 192-pound Benwikere played four seasons at San Jose State with 30 starts and tied a school record with 14 career interceptions. He said the Panthers showed big-time interest in him before the draft.
Like Boston, he's considered a playmaker.
"I'm smart and intelligent," Benwikere said. "I can make plays for you."
Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman ran the third day of the draft remotely from Worcester, Massachusetts, where his son graduated Saturday morning from Becker College.
Gettleman communicated with his personnel staff through Skype.
Previously, the Panthers selected Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the first round, Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy in the second round and LSU guard Trai Turner in the third.
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