To avoid repeating the same information over and over, I'm including what players I feel should be claimed off waivers, signed as free agents if they have 4 years or more of service, along with who's place on the 53 man roster they should take, and who should be the 8 players on the Practice Squad.
At What Positions Do The Panthers Need To Add Players
The Panthers still need a starting big NT, a starting or backup UT, a starting RG, a backup C/G, a #2 or #3 CB, a S (maybe so Pugh can move to CB) a 3rd DE (who can defend the run and pass rush)and maybe a better TE/FB, . Some of these positions will need to be filled by older veterans (NT, RG) while others may best be filled by younger players. The players with 3 years or less of NFL service must be claimed on waivers, assuming their current contract, and the Panthers have the 1st claim on all players. It's much more complicated for the veterans with 4 years or more of service, because they are free agents, they must be courted, and they can chose to sign with any team they want, and if they are on an opening day roster their whole seasons salary become fully guaranteed. For that reason I will list multiple players at each position, in order of my prefference.
NT (Need 1):
Pat Williams (6-3, 317), has played 14 seasons, and is 38 years old, but still a very good run stopper. He will be suspended for the first 2 games of the season.
Colin Cole (6-2, 328), is 31 years old, and in 2010 had 44 tackles, 1 sack, and 5 passes defended. If he's Healthy.
Jamal Williams (6-3, 348) he is 35 years old, has played 13 seasons, and his health is breaking down on him.
Anthony Gray (5-11 3/4, 330, 5.17-40, 39 bench reps), he's a rookie UDFA, so he can be claimed.
Travis Ivey (6-4, 341, 5.23-40) a 2nd year player who bounced around 2 or 3 teams Practice Squads, he can be claimed.
UT (Need 1):
The pickings at UT are very slim.
Derek Landri (6-2, 290, 4,96-40), played for the Panthers in 2010, recording 43 tackles, 3 sacks, and 1 pass defended. He signed with the Eagles as a free agent, but was cut. The Panthers may still not want him back, but he's about the only available UT with a pass rush.
Igor Olshansky (6-5, 315) is 29, and left the Chargers 2 years ago fr the Cowboys, and was cut to dump his $3.34 million salary. His stats have an unusual pattern, more assist (21) than solo tackles (18), in 2010.
Tommie Harris (6-3, 295) is only 28, but he must feel at least 10 years older. His performance peeked in 2007 & 8, but has taken a nose dive in 2009, with 15 starts, 24 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and in 2010 with 15 games, only 6 starts, 13 tackles, and 1.5 sacks. He's been cut by both the Bears and Colts this year, so he has very little left.
Alex Magee (6-3, 298, 4.83-40) he was the Chiefs #67 pick in 2008, but was cut last season, and claimed by the bucs. His Combine workout numbers were almost identical to the Panthers #65 pick this year DT Terrell McClain, but they played him out of position at 3-4 DE, and he only had like 7 tackles each season, though with 1 sack. He's only had 3 seasons in the NFL so he can be claimed, maybe he will start ti live up to his numbers with a new team. He also has the advantage of being able to also play DE.
Starting RG (Need 1):
Max Jean-Gilles (6-3, 358) is a huge 5th year roadgrading G, who would be a great fit next to Otah.
Geoff Hangartner (6-5, 301), could be the starting RG, or the backuo C/G. Let's hope the ex-Panther wants to come home.
G/C (Need 1):
Geoff Hangartner, and if not him then 1 of the 6 rookie C's that were cut, or C. J. Davis.
A #2 Or #3 CB (Need 1):
Parish Cox (5-11 5/8, 198, 4.54-40), is a 2nd year player, who's 24, and had 58 tackles, 14 passes defended, 1 int, and 2 forced fumbles as a rookie in 2010. He can be claimed off waivers, and Hogan will likely be ready before he goes on trial. I'm not happy with this pick, but the veteran CB are only 5-9.
Josello Hanson (5-9, 185) is 30 years old, and a favorite of DC McDernott.
Reggie Corner (5-9, 180) is 27 years old, had 67 tackles, 9 passes defended, and 1 int in 2009, with 25 tackles, and 1 sack in 2010.
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (6-0 1/4, 207, 4.30-40) was the Cowboys #120 pick last year, but he was injured after 1 tackle, and went on IR. He's also a kick returner, and plays S as well.
S (May Need 1, so Pugh can move to CB)"
Brandon Meriweather (5-11, 200) made the Pro Bowl the last 2 seasons, but the Panthers need a backup, not a starter.
Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (6-0 1/4, 207, 4.30-40) discribed above, cam also play S.
Keanemana "Mana" Silva (6-0 3/4, 206, 4.41-40, 23 bench reps, 40 inch vertical) a rookie, he can be claimed.
3rd DE (Need 1):
Anthony Hargrove (6-3, 272) can also play DE, and can defend the run, or rush the passer.
Alex Brown (6-3, 260) is older than Hargrove, but has the Chicago connection to RR.
Jacob Ford (6-4, 252) is 28, and has averaged 5 sacks over the last 3 seasons, he's a better pass rusher than Norwood or E. Brown, but not a run defender.
WR (Need 1 Veteran):
Donnie Avery (5-11 1/8, 186, 4.34-40, 1.50-10) in 2 seasons (a 3rd on IR) he's had 53 & 47 catches (more than any current Panthers WR not named Smith), and will be a good replacement for Smith when the time comes.He can be claimed on waivers, and be a good veteran 3rd WR. He's lost none of his speed.
Brandon Tate (6-1, 210, 4.45-40) had 24 catches, for an 18.0 average in 2010, but isn't much of a route runner, more free lancing. He returned 2 kickoffs for TD's last season, and he can be claimed off waivers.
TE/FB (May Need 1 To Replace Richie Brockel):
Dante Rosario (6-4, 250, 4.76-40), the Panthers didn't try to keep him, but he might be cheaper now.
Dorin Dickerson (6-1 3/8, 226, 4.40-40, 43 1/2 inch vertical) is only 23, but only had 2 catchers as a rookie last season, and can be claimed. He might be a good H-Back or WR, his speed is a big plus.
Mickey Shuler (6-4, 251, 4.61-40) a 2nd year player, he can be claimed. He has good size and speed for a TE.
Shawn Nelson (6-5, 240, but now up to 273, 4.52-40) is a 3rd year player, so he can be claimed. He had 17 catches in 2009, but only 3 in 2010.
Who Might Be Cut From The Roster If A Player Is Signed For These Positions?
Player Cut - 1st of Players Signed
NT - Andre Neblett (to Practice Squad) - Pat Williams
UT - Eric Norwood - Derek Landri
RG - Bryant Browing - Max Jean-Gilles
C/G - C. J. Davis - Geoff Hangartner
S - Kevin Payne - Akwasi Owusu-Ansah
DE - Thomas Keiser - Anthony Hargrove
WR - David Clowney - Donnie Avery
FB/TE - Richie Brockel - Dorin Dickerson
I don't think Brockel will be cut and replaced, unless it's to creat roster room for another position like UT. They will probably just let Neblett backup McClain at UT. I don't think they would claim Owusu-Ansah, or cut Payne. Josello Hanson is probably a lock for the CB spot, and Cox has no chance. So all I expect is a veteran NT, Jean-Gillis, Hangartner, CB Hanson, DE Brown, and Donnie Avery if they can afford all those vets. I went for Cox and Owusu-Ansah to save cap money. I kept Jason Williams rather than Norwood, because Norwood doesn't really fit a position.