With cuts looming over the next two weeks, its time to take a look at who is in and who is out for the Carolina Panthers. Colin Hoggard and Mac Attack contributor, Danny Guy, set about to make the necessary cuts. With the emergence of some young wide receivers, one veteran’s services will no longer be required. The guys also trimmed a quarterback and bemoan the lack of offensive line depth. Here’s their roster projections, complete with analysis, last four in/out and a bonus practice squad supplement:
Analysis: Time for the Panthers and Jimmy “Pickles” Clausen to part ways. He’s been unable to wrestle the backup role from Anderson and if Cam goes down, the season is in serious jeopardy anyways (putting it politely). Much better to keep skill players who can fill a situational role rather than a 3rd QB.
Running Backs (4)
Analysis: No surprises here. Tauren Poole and Armond Smith are necessary casualties and Zordich is out for the year.
Wide Receivers (7)
Analysis: One of the toughest decisions came down to Kealoha Pilares, Joe Adams and Domenik Hixon. A month ago, it would have been a near certainty that Hixon would be on the roster, but his injuries (again) combined with the emergence of Armanti Edwards and David Gettis make him less valuable. If Gettis can continue to show his downfield playmaking in the last two preseason games and Hixon continues to not play, it only makes the decision easier. Pilares offers more versatility, is younger, and stays healthier. Adams, likewise, is younger, can fill a returner job, and could develop into a better WR in time. Ultimately, everything Hixon does can be done by others now and he’s by far the most injury prone (including at this time).
Offensive Line (8)
Chris Scott/(Free agent)
Nate Chandler/(Free agent)
Analysis: Nothing puts the offensive line depth issues into perspective quite like trying to figure out which eight are deserving of a roster spot. We got to six, with some spots awarded by default and hit a wall. The seventh spot could go to Chris Scott, but the best case scenario has the Panthers acquiring not one but two linemen after other teams make cuts.
Tight Ends (4)
Analysis: Brockel’s versatility as an H-Back and the reliance on two tight end sets makes him an easier choice than at first look. Brandon Williams has some exceptional talent, Rivera has sung his praises and trying to slip him to the practice squad would likely result in him being scooped up. He’s potentially too valuable in red zone situations to allow him to get swiped.
Defensive Ends (4)
Analysis: A smaller group (by one) than other teams might keep, but Johnson and Hardy stay on the field for the majority of snaps. Addison gets the nod over Louis Nzegwu and Craig Roh because he’s not practice squad eligible while both of them could be stashed there.
Defensive Tackles (5)
Analysis: While the DE’s are a man short, an additional DT gets kept. With two rookie defensive tackles, we opted for some additional depth to prevent them from hitting the wall. Cole and Kearse get the nod over Fua.
Analysis: A smaller group with Jon Beason being omitted, for the time being. The versatility of the LB core makes one fewer body less of a concern, with Beason waiting in the wings.
Analysis: Josh Norman’s performance this preseason could end up winning him a starting job after entering the preseason looking like the Nickel Corner at best. The other Josh makes the roster based on his play at the end of the season last year. Drayton Florence’s veteran presence makes him a valuable member in the Secondary, and DJ Moore’s versatility to play Safety factors into his value. Captain is the ideal Nickel Corner and will stick around to fill that role. The odd man out was Rookie Melvin White who will be sent to the Practice Squad.
Analysis: Godfrey and Mitchell the likely starters, with Campbell and Nakamura as backups. All 3 bench guys will play roles on special teams. Jones, a straight line burner, sticks almost exclusively as a ST gunner.
Long Snapper (1)
Analysis: No surprises. Special teamers stay the same.
Last Four In: J. Adams, K. Pilares, B. Williams, and F. Kearse
Last Four Out: J. Clausen, D. Hixon, S. Fua, and L. Nzegwu
Practice Squad (7 of 8)
Analysis: All of these guys save Cameron have made plays in practice and in the preseason this year. The idea was to keep the players that could help the Panthers down the line and all of them fit that description. The most likely of the seven to be claimed before he could make it to the Practice Squad would be Tauren Poole, and Cameron is kept as a developmental Quarterback down the line.
Listen to Colin Hoggard M-F 6a-10a on the Mac Attack and the Weekend Warriors on Sunday 8-9a.
Read more of Danny Guy’s football thoughts (college and pro)
Interact with Colin (@ColinWFNZ) and Danny (@danny_g13) on Twitter.