CHARLOTTE, N. C. -- For the second straight year, the Carolina Panthers are going to try to get away with an elite front seven and a Band-Aid secondary.

That's the plan, anyway.

But through this week's OTAs, the first-team cornerbacks were free agent signee Antoine Cason and 2013 undrafted rookie Melvin White, and the safeties were free agents Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud.

"Everybody looks at the front seven, but after this season we want to be looked at as a great overall defense," DeCoud said. "The front seven is going to be elite and we want to play up to their level and make sure that we stake our claim to this defense as well."

Meanwhile on the front line, the Panthers believe they got a steal when Kony Ealy fell to them in the second round, and the defensive end is already making vows not to forget it.

"I didn't expect to fall that far," the former Missouri standout said. "But I use it as motivation every team that passed me up, there's a target on their backs."

Ealy had an up-and-down rookie minicamp last month, but according to head coach Ron Rivera, he made progress during OTAs.

"You want to see somebody take a step from week one to week two and he's one of the guys that's showing that he's starting to get what we're doing," Rivera said.

NOTES: CB Josh Norman, a bubble guy who missed one day last week because of a dentist appointment, looked good when he jumped a route during team drills for an interception. ... G Chris Scott is not in great shape. After leaving a practice last week because of the heat, he spent Wednesday working on conditioning. Third-round pick Trai Turner filled Scott's role as the first-team right guard. ... The Panthers became the 11th team to get all their rookie deals done Wednesday when they signed first-round WR Kelvin Benjamin and Turner.