When the Panthers drafted a pair of defensive tackles in the third round in 2011, team officials hoped Sione Fua and Terrell McClain would clog the middle of the interior defense for years to come.

So much for that.

Two years later, the Panthers invested their first two picks in another pair of defensive tackles. Again the front office – led by a new general manager – is confident it has found the long-term anchors for the defensive line.

Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short have better resumes and were more productive college players than their 2011 predecessors, but the Panthers won’t know how both will transition until they begin practicing against their NFL peers.

Lotulelei, the 14th overall pick from Utah, and Short, a second-round pick out of Purdue, will line up alongside each other for the first time Friday for the start of the Panthers’ rookie minicamp.

The three-day camp at the team’s practice fields adjacent to Bank of America Stadium is closed to the public.

Lotulelei was considered a top-3 prospect before doctors diagnosed him with a heart issue at the combine. A University of Utah cardiologist cleared Lotulelei, but the diagnosis affected his draft stock.

While Lotulelei is best known as a run-stuffer, Short was an accomplished pass rusher at Purdue. But Short said the two have one thing in common: creating havoc.

“We’re going to do what we do best,” Short said last month.

Besides their five draft picks, the rookie minicamp will include the Panthers’ 13 undrafted free agents, 35 to 40 tryout players and six players under contract with less than a year of NFL experience.

The NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement put stricter guidelines on offseason workouts and minicamps. As such, most teams bring in tryout players to have enough to line up for drills during the rookie camps.