Don't overlook Godfrey as every-down CB

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Perhaps no member of the Carolina Panthers has more to prove during training camp than Charles Godfrey.

Perhaps no member of the team is more excited for camp to begin.

Godfrey not only is coming off an Achilles injury that's sidelined since the second game last season, he's also making a position change after taking a salary cut that reduced his 2014 cap number by more than $4 million.

"I've been waiting on this moment to get here," said Godfrey, who has been cleared medically to be a full participant in practice, beginning with tonight's Fan Fest at Bank of America Stadium. "It's here now. It feels good."

Godfrey is making the transition from safety to cornerback. Many have him pegged simply as the nickelback, where he will compete with rookie Bene Benwikere for the job.

But don't overlook Godfrey as an every-down corner. As Seattle showed last season in winning the Super Bowl with big, physical corners that are needed to cover big wide receivers, the Panthers are looking to move in that direction as well.

Godfrey (5-foot-11, 210) fits that mold. Coach Ron Rivera said the seventh-year player out of Iowa likely will start out competing with Melvin White, more of a finesse player who won the job as an undrafted rookie last season, on the left side.

He, too, hasn't ruled out Godfrey being an every-down corner.

"That's what you want, tall, lean, long-armed players who can make a difference," Rivera said.

The Panthers want Godfrey on the field as much as possible because of his leadership. That's one reason they asked him to take a pay cut instead of cutting him to alleviate most of his $7 million cap hit this season.

He's also talented, having started 74 games at safety. He's not lacking for confidence, either.

"I understand the defense," Godfrey said. "I've been here for a while. I can run with a lot of receivers and my ball skills are good. I'm real physical. Now, that's the key at corner, big corners that can be physical.

"I'm at the stage of my injury of just gaining confidence."