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Projecting The 2013 Carolina Panthers Opening Day 53-Man Roster

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(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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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:

Quarterback (2)
Cam Newton
Derek Anderson

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)
DeAngelo Williams
Kenjon Barner
Tauren Poole
Armond Smith

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)
Greg Olsen
Ben Hartsock
Brandon Williams
Richie Brockel

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)
Steve Smith
Brandon LaFell
Ted Ginn Jr
David Gettis
Armanti Edwards
Domenik Hixon

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)
Jordan Gross
Byron Bell
Nate Chandler (Free Agent)

Offensive Guard (4)
Amini Silatolu
Garry Williams
Travelle Wharton
Chris Scott (Free Agent)

Center (2)
Ryan Kalil
Jeff Byers

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)
Charles Johnson
Greg Hardy
Frank Alexander
Mario Addison
Wes Horton

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)
Star Lotulelei
Kawann Short
Dwan Edwards
Colin Cole
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.

Linebacker (6)
Luke Kuechly
Jon Beason
Thomas Davis
Chase Blackburn
Jordan Senn
AJ Klein

Analysis: No changes here. Beason looks ready to go, and Blackburn, Senn and Klein provide valuable depth and versatility.

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

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..

Safety (4)
Charles Godfrey
Mike Mitchell
Haruki Nakamura
Colin Jones

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
Jonathan Stewart
Mike Tolbert
Edmund Kugbila
Michael Zordich
Bruce Campbell
Keoloha Pilares
Frank Kearse
Linden Gaydosh
RJ Webb
Joe Adams

Last Four In: Wes Horton, Sione Fua, Chris Scott, Scott

Last Four Out: DJ Campbell, Jimmy Clausen, Jason Williams, Anderson Russell

Practice Squad
Anderson Russell
Craig Roh
Melvin White
Brenton Bersin
Robert Lester
Garrett Chisolm

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.

Interact with Colin (@ColinWFNZ) and Danny (@danny_g13) on Twitter.

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