The third and final attempt by Colin Hoggard and Danny Guy to project the Panthers opening day 53-man roster. Joe Adams was waived/injured and that creates a shift in the roster. The running back corps continues to battle injuries and while that creates headaches for fans, it also creates an opening for another player. One roster spot on the defense slides from the back four to the front four. For reference, here’s the guys first attempt (and their 2nd) at projecting the roster. Here’s their roster projections, complete with analysis, last four in/out and a bonus practice squad supplement:
Analysis: Clausen’s play against the Steelers did nothing to improve his standing and the final call is made to roll with only two QBs.
Running Back (4)
Analysis: With Mike Tolbert’s status up in the air, Armond Smith makes the final cut. If Tolbert is not placed on the PUP list, he takes Smith’s spot, who may find his way to the practice squad. There has been some discussion of Poole v. Smith for a roster spot, with some favoring Smith’s versatility. With the Panthers running core limping in to the regular season, the Cats don’t have the luxury of prioritizing that versatility, instead needing the better option at RB, and that’s Poole. If either is forced into major action, they would not likely be used on special teams, negating some of Smith’s value.
Tight End (4)
Analysis: Brandon Williams spot on the roster is less than secure, but it’s hard to give up on a young player with his physical skills. He’s talented enough to be worth the investment of time and a roster spot (even if he’s not active week to week) and because he would likely be poached off the practice squad.
Wide Receiver (6)
Ted Ginn Jr
Analysis: With Adams and Pilares both on the Injured reserved Domenik Hixon completes the six man Wide Receiver rotation. Last week, we included Joe Adams, but with him being waived/injured and the play of both Ginn and Hixon against Pittsburgh, the Panthers opt for six (down from seven) wide receivers and add an additional offensive lineman (Chris Scott).
Offensive Tackle (3)
Nate Chandler (Free Agent)
Offensive Guard (4)
Chris Scott (Free Agent)
Analysis: By virtue of the good play of Ginn and Hixon at wide receiver in the 4th preseason game, Chris Scott now makes the roster for added line depth.
Defensive End (5)
Analysis: Third year player Mario Addison makes the roster because he’s not Practice Squad eligible and he’s continued to make plays. Rookie Wes Horton turns strong performances throughout the preseason into one of the last spots on the 53 man roster.
Defensive Tackle (5)
Sione Fua (Free Agent)
Analysis: No changes from last week, we’re keeping Fua as the fifth defensive tackle to protect two rookies for hitting a wall.
Analysis: No changes here. Beason looks ready to go, and Blackburn, Senn and Klein provide valuable depth and versatility.
Analysis: No changes from last week. The Panthers secondary looked like a weakness heading into the preseason, but they’ve been a strength of the team behind the performance of second year player Josh Norman..
Analysis: DJ Campbell performed well down the stretch in 2012, but it’s not enough to save his spot with DJ Moore’s versatility. Moore is a player who has played safety and cornerback in his career so even without Campbell you still have five of each position on the roster.
Special Teams (3)
K – Graham Gano
P – Brad Nortman
LS – JJ Jansen
The specialists are locked in, and have been performing exceptionally throughout the preseason.
Physically Unable to Perform / Injured Reserve
Last Four In: Wes Horton, Sione Fua, Chris Scott, Scott
Last Four Out: DJ Campbell, Jimmy Clausen, Jason Williams, Anderson Russell
Analysis: Craig Roh, Melvin White, Anderson Russell and Brenton Bersin have all made splash plays this Preseason and should be retained for the future. Lester is a good project at safety to keep around, and it doesn’t hurt to keep him and see how he progresses. Garrett Chisolm is kept for a big body on the practice squad.
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 including his college football’s Best of the Best series.