With camp closing out and a look at how the Panthers distributed reps in their first preseason game, some things have certainly changed on offense and there's a lot of different outlooks since my last two projections. Let's take a look at how things could shake out now.
Starter: Cam Newton
Depth: Derek Anderson, Joe Webb
Not much to discuss here. Though it is possible the Panthers could let go of Joe Webb for an extra spot at wide receiver or on the offensive line, but so far I don't see that happening. He still has value on special teams.
Starters: Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert
Depth: Fozzy Whittaker, Cameron Artis-Payne
Cuts: Brandon Wegher, Devon Johnson, Jalen Simmons
It was revealed last week that Fozzy Whittaker is pretty much set as the Panthers number two back behind Jonathan Stewart, meaning the competition for the third spot is between CAP and Wegher. They both struggled during the first preseason game, but much of that resulted from a piss-poor performance by the backup O-lines. It is possible that the Panthers end up cutting one of them if the struggles continue, and I think with the roster spots needed at wide receiver and tight end that somebody gets axed and stashed on the practice squad. I currently have that guy as Wegher. He may have been on the active roster last year, but it's a lot tougher with the team being healthy at most positions. That also doesn't help Johnson or Simmons, who will have a real hard time catching a second spot on the PS at running back.
Starters: Kelvin Benjamin, Ted Ginn
Depth: Brenton Bersin, Devin Funchess, Philly Brown, Damiere Byrd
Cuts: LaRon Byrd, Avius Capers, Keyarris Garrett, Stephen Hill, Kevin Norwood, Miles Schuler
This is where it gets tough. The Panthers have a lot of talented players, and they have a logjam as far as promising players at the back end of the depth chart for both wide receiver and tight end. Currently, YA BOI BERSIN is way ahead for the 5th receiver spot, but after a solid camp and showing in the first preseason game I think the Panthers keep Byrd if not purely as a back up for Ginn and Brown, and as a kick returner. With those two playing well, Norwood and Hill have virtually no shot of making the roster. Keyarris Garrett could catch on to the practice squad, but barring an injury I don't see the team pulling a Wegher to keep him. The back end spot is still very much in flux and the next two preseason games could really cement those spots.
Starter: Greg Olsen
Depth: Ed Dickson, Scott Simonson, Beau Sandland
Cuts: Braxton Deaver, Marcus Lucas, Eric Wallace
Scott Simonson has pretty much locked down a roster spot at tight end, so the Panthers will have to make a choice between Sandland, Byrd, and Wegher as those luxury extra spots. I think with Sandland as a recent 7th round pick the Panthers will be more comfortable putting a running back on the practice squad, but that could very easily change. I'd also think that Deaver would be placed on the PS too in this scenario with Wegher, meaning they will have some decent talent to call on in the event of an injury.
T: Michael Oher, Mike Remmers
G: Trai Turner, Andrew Norwell
C: Ryan Kalil
T: Donald Hawkins, Daryl Williams
G: Chris Scott
C: Gino Gradkowski
T: David Foucault, Jordan Rigsbee
G: David Yankey, Tyler Larsen, Reese Dismukes
C: Matt Masifilo
With the news that the Panthers worked out former Giants tackle Will Beatty, it is clear that the Panthers are not satisfied with their depth at tackle. I bet some new faces could be coming all along the line after the week 1 preseason game. Currently, Williams and veterans are the only guys who warrant spots. Hawkins is a guy who could very easily be replaced by another pickup.
A very tough choice faces the Panthers soon. You have to drop either a tight end, running back, or wide receiver so you have enough spots for your defense too. Let's hypothetically say those three are between Wegher, Beau Sandland, and Damiere Byrd. Who is your pick?