My Way Too Early 53 Man Roster Prediction | 2016 Carolina Panthers

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OFFENSE (25)

Quarterback (3)

Cam Newton

Derek Anderson

Joe Webb

*Always a chance Webb gets cut in place of room for a extra TE or WR. I think his spot is pretty safe. Webb has grown on me the last few seasons where I have predicted he would be cut in favor of other positions in past seasons. His Special Teams value & flexibility is too good to cut though.

Tight End (3)

Greg Olsen

Beau Sandland

Scott Simonson

*I won’t be surprised to see Dickson on the roster again but if Sandland can prove to be a solid number 2 at tight end through camp then Dickson is probably in the most danger out of any vets on the roster.

A lot of the complaints about Dickson coming out from Baltimore has carried over the last two seasons in Carolina. Right now I like Simonson & Sandland more though. If Dickson does end up back on the roster Simonson probably goes to the practice squad in place of who I have listed there Lucas.

Wide Receiver (6)

Kelvin Benjamin

Devin Funchess

Ted Ginn

Stephen Hill

Damiere Byrd

Keyarris Garrett

*I have been a big fan of Byrd throughout OTA’s and mini camp. He sounds like a much improved player from last year especially with the added weight he put on in the off-season. Originally I thought his competition would come from Hill for that last roster spot. Basically speed vs speed.

Now I feel more like it will be small receiver vs small receiver. I like Philly Brown for his playing experience and rapport with Cam but as a slot receiver I think Byrd offers more .

If he continues to get reps at punt return then he also brings a Special Teams value as a back up punt returner that Philly doesn’t have. For a lower roster spot I think that might be the tipping point for now to win Byrd the spot.

The same can be said for Hill which most who know me, know I have not been a fan of. Mainly because the last time Hill seen real football action was with the Jets. So most of my opinion can only be based on that and reports from camp. 

If we believe what Wide Receiver Coach Ricky Proehl has said recently in interviews and the reports out of OTA’s that he is catching the ball better than his first two seasons with the Jets. Then that is reason for me to soften my stance. For me though I will wait until pads go on to let him change my opinion on the field.

There is also reports of him doing kick returns in practice and them really focusing on him doing kick returns. If he can replace Fozzy on kick returns in a Cordarrelle Patterson type role and brings that type of special team value with his speed then I can really get on board. Which is why for now I give him the spot for that special team value plus the reported improvement at Wide Receiver. 

I give Garrett the last spot because I think like with Wegher & Marlowe last year his value is too good to risk him on the practice squad. Right now his standing isn’t that high on the roster but that can change as camp goes on.

He has some work to do to prove that risking him on the practice squad is not worth it but he is very much at risk of landing on the practice squad like most outlets have reported but it is way too early to tell for sure. If he does make the roster I think he will land on inactive’s for most of the year like Marlowe & Wegher did last year.

I think Brenton Bersin will be cut like last year at cut downs but he still has practice squad eligibility. If they have a way to store him them they will mainly because the staff likes him so much, Cam likes him, and he does his role well when called upon.

He offers value as a back up punt returner but also in helping the rookies along in the film room. When brought in he is a solid #4 or #5 guy on a roster but competition is too good this year for him to make the 53. He got cut on initial cuts last year with less competition. 

Running Back (3)

Jonathan Stewart

Cameron Artis-Payne

Brandon Wegher

*I am not a big Fozzy fan. I can see this changing if they decide to go one less at receiver or elsewhere and keep 4 at half back again. I think in his second season as a Panther Fozzy really struggled when he got time on the field and especially in his pass protection. 

I do not think CAP & Wegher are that far apart from Fozzy in abilities and their ceiling is much higher to risk cutting one in favor for Fozzy.

Some of us haven’t forgotten his one and only big play in the 2014 playoffs against Arizona on that screen pass. I think he has rode the dividends of that one play far enough though. If Stew goes down I would rather my backs be Wegher & CAP.

Full Back (1)

Mike Tolbert

Offensive Line (9)

Michael Oher

Mike Remmers

Daryl Williams

Trai Turner

Andrew Norwell

Ryan Kalil

Chris Scott

Gino Gradkowski

David Foucault

Defense (25)

Defensive Line (9)

Kony Ealy

Charles Johnson

Star Lotulelei

Kawann Short

Vernon Butler

Paul Soliai

Mario Addison

Rakim Cox

Ryan Delaire

*I can see Rakim Cox on the practice squad again in favor of 5 Defensive Tackles like last year when cuts happened. It will be a matter of if they want to roll with Love there or not. I think Miley will be in the running but ultimately end up on the practice squad. Ealy & Butler both offer versatility to slide to either DE or DT so it just matters who wins out in camp between Rakim & Love.

Linebacker (6)

Thomas Davis

Luke Kuechly

Shaq Thompson

AJ Klein

David Mayo

Jeremy Cash

*Cash has a lot of ground to make up to make the roster over Jacobs. Currently he is behind Jacobs in reps & position on the roster. I have him pegged in for now because I think he can offer some nickle relief along with Shaq given our situation at the Nickle CB spot. 

Camp could change this opinion entirely and I could see a situation where he ended up on the practice squad in favor of Jacobs or another spot elsewhere on the roster only leaving 5 linebackers.

Corner (6)

Bene Benwikere

James Bradberry

Daryl Worley

Zack Sanchez

Lou Young

Charles Tillman or another vet CB not on the roster

*I can see another vet corner being brought in if this young group struggles. Most recently Charles Tillman has been campaigning a return to Carolina and in truth I would love to have him come back and coach this young group as the vet in the room. Especially to teach this group the Peanut Punch. 

If not and they elect to go with 5 at corner then you can probably add another to safety or elsewhere. I am not a fan of McClain or any corner past Young right now.

Safety (4)

Kurt Coleman

Tre Boston

Dean Marlowe

Colin Jones

*Robinson or Marcus Ball could take this spot from Jones. I am not convinced we need much more than 4 at safety but if we keep one less corner or linebacker it wouldn’t surprise me to add another safety to this list.

Special Teams (3)

Graham Gano

Mike Scifres

JJ Jansen

Practice Squad (10)

Kevin Norwood

Brenton Bersin

Corey Brown

Brian Blechen

Arthur Miley

Devon Johnson

Donald Hawkins

Marcus Ball

Marcus Lucas

Shaq Richardson

* I could see one less receiver on the practice squad in favor of another corner, tight end, or lineman. For now it would be either Philly or Norwood in that situation.

Something else to note is the NFL has made a slight rule change to the practice squad eligibility going into 2016. Teams are now allowed to carry 4 players with 2 accrued seasons out of the 10 slots they have open on the practice squad. Before it was only 2 players.

This will allow teams to keep more players with actual game time and which is why guys like Bersin & Philly can be added to this list. 

 

 

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