Looking at Panthers' first depth chart

The Carolina Panthers are making it very clear they plan on first-round draft pick Star Lotulelei being an opening-day starter at defensive tackle.

Some teams go out of their way to show courtesy to veterans, but the Panthers aren’t throwing out any smokescreens. They put out their first unofficial depth chart of the preseason Monday afternoon and Lotulelei is listed with the first team. He’s the only rookie listed as a starter.

The rest of Carolina’s depth chart doesn’t contain any surprises, but let’s take a look at a few positions where there still is competition. After releasing right guard Geoff Hangartner last week, the Panthers are listing Garry Williams as the starter and rookie Edmund Kugbila as the top backup. If Kugbila can get healthy, he has a chance to start.

The defensive backfield also is a key area of competition with free safety Charles Godfrey as the only sure starter. Mike Mitchell is listed as the No. 1 strong safety with D.J. Campbell at No. 2. Veterans Drayton Florence and Captain Munnerlyn are listed as the starting cornerbacks with Josh Thomas and Josh Norman as the top backups.

Ted Ginn Jr. is listed as the top punt and kickoff returner, but I’m expecting Kealoha Pilares, Joe Adams and Armanti Edwards to get some work in this area during the preseason games.