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Release of Brandon Boykin shows Panthers pleased with rookie CBs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera said on Saturday that he liked what he saw out of his three rookie cornerbacks, and he showed how much on Monday.

The Panthers released veteran cornerback Brandon Boykin less than two months after signing him.

Boykin was expected to fill the role of nickel corner with Bene Benwikere moving to the every-down corner spot. He also was going to compete for an outside spot.

Boykin, along with wide receiver Jenson Stoshak and safety Ras-I Dowling, was released to make room to sign six players from the weekend rookie minicamp.

Those players were cornerback Shaquille Richardson (Arizona), linebacker Jared Barber (West Virginia), tight end Braxton Deaver (Duke), offensive tackle Jordan Rigsbee (California), wide receiver Miles Shuler (Northwestern) and running back Jalen Simmons (South Carolina State).

That left the Carolina roster at 88, two shy of the limit.

Rivera reminded on Saturday that the Panthers signed one other player five days after last year’s rookie camp, so there could be another addition or two.

But the release of Boykin was the biggest move in that it showed the confidence Rivera and his staff have in second-round pick James Bradberry, third-round pick Daryl Worley and fifth-round pick Zack Sanchez.

“Those three guys really have an opportunity to impact us this year,’’ Rivera said on Saturday.

Bradberry and Worley probably will compete for the starting spot vacated by 2015 Pro Bowl selection Josh Norman, now with the Washington Redskins after his franchise tag was rescinded.

Sanchez will compete with Colin Jones and others for the nickel spot.

Rivera hasn’t ruled out bringing in a veteran corner, but he indicated on Saturday that he was so pleased with the group he has that such a move wasn’t a priority.

“If we did do something it would be later on, but right now we’re set,’’ Rivera said. “We’re happy with what we’ve seen the last two practices with the young guys.’’