So throughout this entire draft my friends and I have been constantly discussing the contributions each new player might make for the Panthers and how the roster might shape up because of the draft. So with the draft now complete my excited mind started debating our depth chart and what potential areas of need we might try to address with some UDFA. All those thoughts floating around, I sat down and started to type up an early look at what our 53 man roster might look like. I decided to share my thoughts.
Alright, now we have 78 players (going off the tweet last week where we had 71 and the 7 we just added in the draft). I based this off just those guys. I also took a shot at guessing just who might make it on to our practice squad.
Note: The maximum number a team can have going into camps is now 90 and with those 12 extra spots we could find a gem UDFA (ala Cruz or Foster). We'll just have to wait and see.
UPDATED: It sounds like we are bringing in a TON of wr's to compete. I doubt any manage to crack the 53 unless we see star potential, but we could easily be looking at 2 of them making the practice squad. Darvin Adams and Chris Manno better look out! Also, per popular thought below I'm gonna scratch Campbell off and add Kearse back in.
QB: C.Newton / D.Anderson / J.Clausen = 3 players
HB/FB: D.Williams / J.Stewart / M.Tolbert = 3 players
TE: G.Olsen / G.Barnidge = 2 players
WR1: S.Smith / D.Gettis / J.Adams = 3 players
WR2: B.Lafell / K.Pilares = 2 players
LT: J.Gross / G.Williams = 2 players
LG: G.Hangartner / M.Pollak = 2 players
C: R.Kalil = 1 player
RG: A.Silatolu / B.Bell = 2 players
RT: J.Otah / B.Campbell = 2 players
K: O.Mare = 1 player
P: B.Nortman = 1 player
LS: J.Jansen = 1 player
FS: C.Godfrey / H.Nakumara = 2 players
SS: R.Smith / S.Martin /
D.Campbell = 3 players 2 players
CB1: C.Gamble / C.Munnerlyn / J.Norman = 3 players
CB2: B.Hogan / D.Butler = 2 players
SLB: J.Anderson / J.Senn / K.Onatolu = 3 players
MLB: J.Beason / J.Williams = 2 players
WLB: T.Davis / L.Kuechly = 2 players
NT: R.Edwards / S.Fua / J.Shirley = 3 players
UT: A.Neblett / T.McClain / F.Kearse =
2 players 3 players
RE: C.Johnson / A.Applewhite / F.Alexander = 3 players
LE: G.Hardy / J.Tucker / T.Keiser = 3 players
And that's 53.
D.Adams - WR / Or UDFA
J.Thomas - CB
F.Kearse - DT
J.Vaughn - HB / Or UDFA
G.Smith - TE
G.Williams - G/C / Or UDFA
So probably 1-2 WRs, 1 CB, 1 HB, 1 TE, 1-2 Oline, and 1 ? to make up our Practice Squad.
Guys that were borderline:
A.Edwards / S.Ajirotutu - It came down to cutting for the 53. I chose to keep a couple of the guys mentioned below over Edwards primarily because we have YET to really use/see anything from him besides in training camp and the other guys have either shown production (ie sacks) or contributed more on ST. And although Ajirotutu has some skills, I chose to keep Darvin Adams on the practice squad instead. I remember that the word from last year was that the front office liked this kid, and that could make all the difference.
K.Onatolu - I figured that since we signed this guy SPECIFICALLY because he excels at STs, we would keep him around.
J.Pugh / D.Campbell - I ultimately chose Campbell over Pugh. We don't know much about Campbell right now, but we do know that Pugh was NOT what Rivera thought he had last year. Pugh was IMO much worse than Martin last year. I think Campbell's ST ability will maybe show up more in preseason and earn him the nod over Pugh. Of course neither could make the roster and so Campbell could be a guy getting the practice squad nod. Or we could decide we're fine moving forward with Godfrey, Martin, Smith, and Nakamura and not keep any other safeties around. Give that roster spot to a standout UDFA.
T.Keiser - Keiser was a surprising bright spot off the practice squad last year. I'll admit, he could get relegated back there again after the selection of Frank Alexander today. Honestly, though, I just love his upside. Applewhite and Tucker are on 1 year contracts. Keeping Keiser on the roster prevents him being vultured by another team and provides us good depth at DE for the future and just a bevy of pass rushers for this season.
R.Stanford / J.Thomas - I kept 5 CBs for us on the roster. I figure the Panthers will keep a CB on the practice squad. This is Stanford's last contract year. Thomas still has 3 years left. So I chose Thomas. Plus we didn't get to really see anything from him despite him being a 5th round selection last year (albeit by the Cowboys). Maybe there's talent we could cultivate and possibly move into a roster spot next year when Munny and Butler become free agents.
F.Kearse / J.Shirley - I ultimately chose Shirley. He provided more flash last season and has more experience under his belt. I just like his upside if he had to play this year more than Kearse's. And with this being a big problem area last year I figure we might keep an extra guy as insurance and a guy we're familiar with on the practice squad just in case.
J.Vaughn - I didn't put him with the 53 since Tolbert is basically our #3. Vaughn is the #4 and is a solid ST player, but I couldn't fit him in. It's highly possible we'll bring in an UDFA back to compete with him for that practice squad / #4 HB spot, but at this point I'm slotting him there.
Z.Williams / L.Ziemba - Ah. Our final 2 picks from last year. Well in the end I figured we would be keeping 1 (if not 2) Olinemen on the practice squad. Williams can play both center and guard, so he has versatility. I remember specifically that he had that nasty streak Rivera likes. I think he provides better depth in a pinch than Ziemba who quickly got passed by Byron Bell last year. So ultimately Ziemba got the axe for me. I just wonder if Williams untimely injury will have mostly made him out-of-sight-out-of-mind for the staff, leading them to only keeping him around if he SERIOUSLY flashes. Instead of trying to develop him.
And so there it is. My INSANELY EARLY 53 man roster. What do you guys think? Is this a Super Bowl winning roster yert?