Carolina has a lot of tough choices ahead of them. A lot of guys played hard enough to make the team, but the Panthers can’t keep all of them. Here’s who should make the 53-man roster:
Explanation: While Heinicke made a lot of plays against Pittsburgh, it wasn’t enough to make the 53. Although, he should be on a team. Grier was a third round pick and will make the team. Side note: Cam’s rookie preseason was pretty bad, so don’t worry about Grier.
Cameron Artis-Payne Elijah Holyfield
Explanation: Bonnafon showed enough in the preseason to earn a roster spot. Scarlett made the most of his opportunities.
Aldrick Robinson Jaydon Mickens DeAndrew White Andy Levrone Rashad Ross Damion Jeanpiere
Explanation: Picking the top 6 guys here. The only one on the bubble was Godwin, who made a case to stay in the preseason. It was between Godwin and Robinson, but Godwin played into a spot.
Cole Hunt Jason Vander Laan Temarrick Hemingway Marcus Baugh
Explanation: This is an easy one. Keeping Manhertz as the third tight end, mirrors what they’ve done every year. Keeping Manhertz as a blocker will have a ton of benefits for the offense. We know he can catch passes from McCaffrey too. Thomas should be a big part of the offense this year, too. He was having a good camp until he got banged up.
Explanation: All three (or four if you count Dennis Daley) tackles will make the team. Hopefully Little progresses enough to start and they can put Williams at guard. Having the best offensive line on the field is the goal.
Greg Van Roten
Kitt O’Brien Brandon Greene Rishard Cook Tyler Catalina Kofi Amichia
Explanation: Daley’s position flexibility gives him a roster spot. He showed a lot of promise this preseason at both guard and tackle. Carolina could also pick up another tackle after cuts, but Daley still makes the team. Taylor Hearn, on the other hand….And to be honest, Brandon Greene outplayed Hearn, so look for that too.
John Yarbrough Parker Collins
Expanation: Picking the top two players here. Larsen can also play guard in a pinch, since it’s his natural position.
Explanation: Picked the top six guys. Haynes played very well the preseason and fits in the 3-4 scheme very well. Obada played well in limited time. He bulked up this offseason, so he could have some looks inside. Miller is a first round talent. Once he gets more opportunities, he should showcase his ability.
Woodrow Hamilton Bijhon Jackson
Explanation: McCoy, Short, Poe and Love were locks going into training camp, but Butler was on the bubble. Butler has slimmed down, looks stronger and faster and seems to be primed for a breakout season. With him playing some defensive end in the 3-4 scheme, he could play his way into another contract with Carolina.
Jordan Kunaszyk Sione Teuhema Antwoine Williams Brandon Bell
Explanation: Even though Luke Kuechly is in danger of losing his roster spot, he should make the team. Joking aside, these were the top five linebackers in the preseason. Kunaszyk played well and had an interception last night, but it wasn’t enough to make the roster. Norris didn’t play well on defense, but he’s a valuable asset on special teams.
Corn Elder Kevon Seymour Lorenzo Doss Josh Thornton Ryan Pulley
Explanation: Only keeping four corners because Carolina has to keep two kickers due to Gano’s injury. Seymour or Elder will likely be picked back up after Gano is played on IR.
Quin Blanding Corrion Ballard Damian Parms
Explanation: Keeping the best four safeties on the roster. Carolina picking up Boston spelled the end for Blanding making the roster as my dark horse candidate.
Explanation: Slye performed extremely well in the preseason. With Gano possibly going to IR for eight weeks, Slye makes the team. Gano has to start the season on the roster in order to be placed on IR. Jansen as a long snapper is as solid as they come.
Some of this could change if players get signed after final cuts, but this is how I see it shaking out.