June is way too early to have the final 53 man roster set in stone. But here is my take on who is on and who is out.
***First lets go over the locks at each position***
QB: Cam Newton, Derek Anderson
FB: Mike Tolbert
WR: Steve Smith, Brandon Lafell, Dominik Hixon, Ted Ginn
TE: Greg Olsen
C: Ryan Kalil
So that makes 35 locks for the 53 man roster already. Some surprises might be listed on here such as Jordan Senn as a lock. I think his ability on special teams and ability to fill in anywhere on the LB corp makes him vital. I also don't have our new CB's Drayton Florence or DJ Moore as locks. I think with them and Captain all truly being nickels then it could make one or more expendable. I am giving the lock to Captain just due to experience with the Panthers.
***Next, we have players who are not locks but will still make the squad***
RB: Kenjon Barner
TE: Ben Hartsock, Richie Brokel
DT: Sione Fua
CB: DJ Moore, Drayton Florence
S: DJ Campbell
This now brings the total up to 44 players. I think Richie Brockel makes the squad due to his versatility of being able to play both TE and FB. I personally like DJ Moore over Drayton Florence but I see us keeping both because I dont think there are many other CB's currently available right now that I would switch with. But if a solid one gets cut from another team, I think we need to at least consider them.
***Finally, these are bubble players that I do think make the roster but it is very close***
RB: Armond Smith
WR: Armanti Edwards, Kealoah Pilares
TE: Nelson Rosario
C: Jeff Byers
DE: Mario Addison
DT: Frank Kearse
QB: As you can see, Jimmy Clausen did not make the cut. I feel we will only go with 2 QBs this season. I feel his roster spot was wasted all last season since he never dressed out for a single game, that position could be used elsewhere and Ron Rivera will realize that this season
RB/FB: I feel Armond Smith will be kept because he is more of a natural running back. Kenyon Barner is more of a scat back and we need to keep another north/south runner in case Stewart were to get injured again.
WR: I think Smith, Lafell, Hixon, and Ginn are in. I have put that Armanti and Pilares are staying but you could easily put Gettis in there as well. I went with them because they dont have the injury concerns that Gettis has. I also went with 6 receivers because I am not sure yet how much they plan on using Ted Ginn as a receiver or mainly as a return man.
TE: I am not in love with our backup TEs at all. I think we need to have a second receiving TE backup, that is why I left Nelson Rosario on the team. From what I keep reading, he has huge upside and hopefully can live up to that hype.
OL: I feel Kugbila could beat out Hangartner for starting RG. If that were to happen we might look for a cheaper backup. But Piggy also has versatility to also play center. Jeff Byers was kept simply for depth
DE: Feel good about our DE lineup
DT: Cant wait to see how Star and Kawann look. I think Dwan will start over Kawann but I look for him to get a lot of playing time.
LB: I love our linebacking crew! If they can stay healthy, we have the best in the league.
CB: I am glad we brought Captain back. I am excited about the potential of Norman and Dockery. But at the end of the day we still have 3 nickel corners and 2 corners with limited experience.
S: Haruki doesn't make the cut after the terrible season last year. But UDFA Robert Lester does, excited about his potential.
Specialists: No changes here. Gano needs to stay consistent. Nortman needs to show improvement. JJ Jansen is an underrated long snapper, one of the best in the league.
Let me know what you think. Can't wait until the season starts. Keep Pounding!