#1 and #2 Cornerback
As of right now it seems like veterans Drayton Florence and Captain Munnerlyn are the favorites to start, but younger cornerbacks Josh Norman and Josh Thomas could challenge for both of the starting spots.
Captain Munnerlyn has struggled so far this preseason, both on the outside and in the slot. On the other hand, Josh Norman has shown significant improvement from his rookie year struggles and looks capable of starting on the outside full time. If Munnerlyn struggles again tonight and Norman has a third consecutive good performance, expect Norman to be named the starter over Munnerlyn for one of the starting cornerback spots.
Also, while Drayton Florence is a steady veteran, the advanced stats show that Josh Thomas actually performed better than Florence in 2012. At this point in his career, Drayton Florence is a known commodity with little upside on a one year deal, while Thomas is a younger player who might not have reached his ceiling yet. If Thomas continues to play well it'll be interesting to see if Rivera takes the risk and names the younger Thomas the starter, or if he plays it safe and keeps the veteran Florence as the starter.
#1 Strong Safety
Although Mike Mitchell seemed to have won the starting spot here based off his performance in training camp, he has had a very up and down preseason. The Panthers love his ability to blitz, but he's been very ineffective at it so far. He's also a been a liability in coverage his entire career.
D.J Campbell is the younger player, but he also hasn't really stood out much during training camp or in the preseason to warrant a starting spot.
Just like at cornerback, it comes down to if the Panthers want to accept Mitchell's shortcomings as a player and play it safe by starting the known commodity, or if they want to take a risk and start Campbell. There isn't much of a jump in talent between the two, so it'll really come down to coaching philosophy.
#3 Wide Receiver
With Armanti Edwards, Domenik Hixon and Joe Adams all out with injuries, expect David Gettis and Ted Ginn Jr. to get plenty of snaps tonight. Hopefully it'll help determine who will be the #3 wide receiver on the depth chart. Based on Gettis' performance so far, he is deserving of the spot, but if Ginn has a big game it'll definitely be a tough decision for the coaching staff to make.
So, which position battle are you looking forward to seeing tonight? Feel free to discuss below.