Projecting The 2013 Carolina Panthers 53-man Roster

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Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

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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:

Quarterbacks (2)
Cam Newton
Derek Anderson

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)
DeAngelo Williams
Jonathan Stewart
Mike Tolbert
Kenjon Barner

Analysis: No surprises here. Tauren Poole and Armond Smith are necessary casualties and Zordich is out for the year.

Wide Receivers (7)
Steve Smith
Brandon LaFell
Armanti Edwards
David Gettis
Ted Ginn
Kealoha Pilares
Joe Adams

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)
Jordan Gross
Ryan Kalil
Amini Silatolu
Garry Williams
Jeff Byers
Byron Bell
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)
Greg Olsen
Ben Hartsock
Richie Brockel
Brandon Williams

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)
Charles Johnson
Greg Hardy
Frank Alexander
Mario Addison

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)
Star Lotulelei
Kawann Short
Dwan Edwards
Colin Cole
Frank Kearse

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.

Linebackers (6)
Luke Kuechly
Thomas Davis
Jordan Senn
Chase Blackburn
AJ Klein
Jason Williams

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.

Cornerbacks (5)
Captain Munnerlyn
Josh Norman
Josh Thomas
Drayton Florence
DJ Moore

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.

Safeties (5)
Charles Godfrey
Mike Mitchell
Colin Jones
Haruki Nakamura
DJ Campbell

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.

Kicker (1)
Graham Gano

Punter (1)
Brad Nortman

Long Snapper (1)
JJ Jansen

Analysis: No surprises. Special teamers stay the same.

Jon Beason
Bruce Campbell
Mike Zordich
Edmund Kugbila
Linden Gaydosh
RJ Webb

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)
Wes Horton
Louis Nzegwu
Craig Roh
Melvin White
Colby Cameron
Brenton Bersin
Tauren Poole

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.

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