Panthers Depth Chart Review – RB’s

I decided to go ahead and jump on one of the choice Panther positions for a position review. I say ‘choice’ because the truth is the Panthers have two excellent choices at RB this season. Though I don’t predict a change in the starting lineup I think the moniker ‘Double Trouble’ will be fit even more apply in 2009. Might we even develop ‘triple’ trouble? A look down the RB depth chart might give us an answer. Though it would appear four players are vying for a single 3rd RB slot more than one of these players might actually make the team. Let’s look at each of them.

 

DeAngelo Williams – 5’9" 217, 4th yr, Memphis - Starter

DeAngelo Williams’s stat line for 2008 says it all. 1,515 yards rushing, 20 total TD’s and a 5.5 yards per carry average that led the NFL. Yet my favorite stat from his 2008 season is this: Zero fumbles. You can find plenty of film on him (I’ve embedded one below) and some of the spectacular plays he made since coming to Carolina. Williams averaged around 17 carries per game in 2008 so the only question is whether that number will increase in 2009. I can’t imagine any Panther fan would argue with an increase in that area no matter how good his back-up plays. Otherwise there isn’t much else to say but that he will be the starter at RB come game one and Panther fans will be excited to see what he can do as an encore to 2008.


Jonathan Stewart - 5’10" 235, 2nd yr, Oregon - Back-up

What a compliment Jonathan Stewart turned out to be for starter Williams. He put up 836 yards rushing, 10 TD’s and a 4.5 yards per carry average. Does anyone fear a drop off when this guy comes in the game? Hardly, we can’t wait to see what this guy will do next either. If only we could get 20 carries a game for both of these RB’s. For his part Stewart averaged over 11 carries per game and I’m sure the Panthers would love to give him more. Just be sure to keep the camera rolling because there will be plenty of highlights to review after the 2009 season.


Mike Goodson – 6’0" 215 lbs, Rookie 4th round, Texas A&M

Goodson is the latest Panther RB draft pick who will fight for a wide-open 3rd RB slot with three other players. I have to give Goodson the inside track given the Panthers expended a 4th round pick on him. Normally you wouldn’t expect more than three RB’s retained but that could change this season. Goodson is also getting a look at the 3rd WR slot so in the end the Panthers might actually dedicate a WR slot to him and retain an additional RB. I’m not expecting that just stating it’s a possibility. What I am expecting is for Goodson to nail down the 3rd RB spot. Roster Chance: 90%

Decori Birmingham – 5’10" 210 lbs, 2nd Year, Arkansas

Though Birmingham is only showing 1 year of NFL experience he has actually gotten a number of looks from teams since the 2005 season and this may be his last shot. I personally thought he looked pretty good in the preseason last season and think he could be a serviceable back-up if called upon. Yet with the drafting of Goodson it doesn’t look good for him as he doesn’t have the versatility Goodson has. I also imagine Birmingham has used up his practice squad eligibility so has to hope he shines enough to get noticed by some team reviewing film if the Panthers decide to pass. Roster Chance: 10%

 

Jamell Lee – 6’1", 225 lbs, UDFA, Canada

Lee is the pride of British Columbia as being one of the best players to come out of Canada in a while. You can read a piece on him from the Panthers site here as well as watch video highlights I’m pretty sure we’ve already linked on this site before. Lee appears to have decent speed and good field vision that helps him pick his holes. He does seem to run too upright in his pads though and he doesn’t have elite speed or power. Given the depth in front of him Lee’s best chance will be the Panther practice squad which will give him an interesting decision. He could return to Canada and play a staring role in the CFL or will he stay in the US and hope for that NFL opportunity? Practice Squad Chance: 50%


 

UPDATE: I'm going to leave the breakdown, but Manson has been waived alongside Reggie Sullivan as of 6/24 to make room for the Peppers/Munnerlyn signings.--MAP

Markus Manson – 6’0" 209 lbs, UDFA,

Valdosta St
.

Manson is a former Florida recruit who didn’t see enough playing time so he transferred north a tad to Valdosta St. He brings blazing speed having run a 4.37 40 coming out of HS. Here’s what little info I could find on him:

One of the top running backs in the deep south after rushing for 1,900 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. Combines good size with blazing speed.

 

Here’s what I could find on his reasons for transferring:

 

An organizational allergy to running backs will do this: Gator running back Markus Manson is, according to one of those great, great sources you can’t mention, is transferring from Florida. Manson is a junior who, mired in the logjam at running back in ‘06 and then mired in the refusal to actually play a running back in ‘07, made an attempt to switch to corner when it became clear he would not see time in the offensive backfield. That didn’t exactly work out, so he’s gone to Valdosta State–again, according to our sources.

 

Give the amount of speed the Panthers already have at the skill positions its hard to imagine Manson making the roster. If Jamall Lee declines a PS spot then that might open the door for Manson on the PS. Practice Squad Chance: 20%

Update: Some sites have Manson listed as a CB and not RB. He did play both for Florida but it looks like he played RB exclusively his senior year at Valdosta St. Panthers.com has him listed at RB but other sites have him at CB.

2nd Update: Manson was waived on June 25th to make room for DE Julius Peppers who signed his franchise tender.

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