There are only 64 days until the Carolina Panthers kick off the 2019 season, so let’s take a closer look at the player currently wearing No. 64 for the Panthers — guard Dorian Johnson.
Dorian Johnson, Guard
Weight: 305 lbs
Age: 24 years
Experience: 1 year
Anybody up for a reclamation project?
Let’s hope running game coordinator John Matsko and assistant offensive line coach Travelle Wharton are.
Dorian Johnson had a stellar four-year college career at Pittsburgh which culminated with First Team All-America honors in 2016. His college performance and NFL potential led the Arizona Cardinals to select him in the fourth round of the 2017 draft but just as soon as the Cardinals invested in the former Pitt Panther, they cut him. As a rookie he “had such a poor camp that he passed through waivers and was signed to the PS (practice squad).” That’s never a good sign when a fourth round pick doesn’t even last until the beginning of the regular season.
Johnson didn’t languish long on the Cardinals practice squad before he was plucked away by the Houston Texans and put on their 53-man roster in October 2017. That arrangement lasted less than one month before he was once again cut and signed to the Texans practice squad.
In January 2018 the Panthers signed him to a reserve future contract, released him during final roster cuts, then signed him to the practice squad. He was activated from the practice squad in late December 2018 but did not appear in any games for the Panthers.
After two years in the NFL, Dorian Johnson has spent time on three different practice squads but has yet to see the field in a regular season game. Making the Panthers 53-man roster in 2019 will be a stretch for Johnson, let alone finding any playing time.
The Panthers currently have eight guards on the roster including incumbent starters Trai Turner and Greg Van Roten. Not only does Johnson need to battle five other guards to make the roster but there is also the possibililty that tackle Daryl Williams moves inside while backup center Tyler Larsen has also played some guard in the past.
Dorian Johnson can only ride on his resume as a recent fourth round pick for so long. The odds are probably against him sticking with the Panthers this year but if there was ever a time for him to reclaim his career, that time would be now.