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August 29, 2012

Observer projects 53-man roster for Panthers

After the Panthers made their first round of cuts Monday, general manager Marty Hurney said the team still had another wave of tough decisions to make to get the roster from 75 to 53 by the end of the week.

Two days before Friday's deadline, let's take a look at the likely locks, cuts and bubble guys for the Panthers, by position.

(projected roster spots noted in parentheses)

QUARTERBACKS (3)

Locks (2): Cam Newton, Derek Anderson

Bubble (1): Jimmy Clausen

Clausen was inactive for every game last year, but won praise from Ron Rivera for his professional approach on the sideline and in the meeting room. Clausen has been awful during the preseason, but the Panthers are expected to keep all three quarterbacks.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

Locks (4): DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, Richie Brockel

Bubble: Tauren Poole

Cuts: Armond Smith

With Tolbert a versatile fullback who can run and block, there's really no need to keep Poole as a third tailback. Poole would seem a likely candidate for the practice squad. Brockel's versatility and special teams skills get him on the team.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)

Locks (5): Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, Louis Murphy, Kealoha Pilares, Joe Adams

Bubble (1): Armanti Edwards, Seyi Ajirotutu

Cuts: Lamont Bryant, Jared Green

When David Gettis was placed on the PUP list, it essentially assured a spot for Edwards or Ajirotutu. Ajirotutu has added value as a special teams contributor. Edwards' fate seemed to be sealed when the Panthers drafted Adams as their punt returner.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

Locks (3): Greg Olsen, Gary Barnidge, Ben Hartsock

Cuts: Nelson Rosario, Joe Jon Finley

The Panthers kept three tight ends last year, four counting Brockel. With Barnidge more of a receiver than a blocker, Hartsock becomes essential.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)

Locks (7): Jordan Gross, Amini Silatolu, Ryan Kalil, Geoff Hangartner, Byron Bell, Bruce Campbell, Mike Pollak

Bubble (1): Garry Williams, Matt Reynolds

Cuts: Bryant Browning, Jeff Byers, Zack Williams, Justin Wells

Campbell, acquired from Oakland for Mike Goodson during the offseason, is back at his more natural position of tackle and can play either side. Pollak is a swing player who can line up at guard and center. Williams has experience at guard and tackle, although coaches like Reynolds, a 26-year-old rookie from BYU.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)

Locks (8): Charles Johnson, Ron Edwards, Terrell McClain, Greg Hardy, Thomas Keiser, Sione Fua, Antwan Applewhite, Frank Alexander

Bubble (1): Frank Kearse, Ogemdi Nwagbuo

Cuts: Nate Chandler, Ryan Van Bergen

*Andre Neblett will start season on reserve/suspended list.

Because of all the situational packages, the Panthers need a lot of bodies up front. Keiser has shown again during the preseason is a valuable, edge rusher who needs to be on the field on third down. Applewhite is involved in several packages, as well as special teams. Kearse's upside gets him the final spot here.

LINEBACKERS (8)

Locks (6): Jon Beason, Luke Kuechly, James Anderson, Thomas Davis, Jordan Senn, Jason Phillips

Bubble (2): Kenny Onatolu, Jason Williams, Kion Wilson

Cuts: David Nixon

Onatolu, sidelined with a hamstring injury, was brought in to boost the special teams. Provided his hamstring improves, he's on the team. Williams, just back from a hyperextended elbow, gets the last spot over Wilson.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (9)

Locks (6): Chris Gamble, Captain Munnerlyn, Charles Godfrey, Haruki Nakamura, Sherrod Martin, Josh Norman

Bubble (3): Josh Thomas, R.J. Stanford, D.J. Campbell, Reggie Smith

Cuts: Jordan Pugh, Jonathan Nelson, Darius Butler

Backup corners Thomas and Stanford both have had strong preseasons, as has Smith at safety. Each has a good chance of making it. Rookie safety Campbell, the seventh-round pick, could be one of the last cuts.

SPECIALISTS (3)

Locks (3): Justin Medlock, Brad Nortman, J.J. Jansen

The Panthers went with the unproven, but strong legs of Medlock and Nortman, cutting Olindo Mare and Nick Harris.

 --Joseph Person

 

Posted by Observer Sports on August 29, 2012 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

Comments

I'd like to keep reggie smith and jordan pugh as the extra safties, for their special team abilities.. i'm expecting a strong season from this team. the potential is there.. only thing i would like to see happen is armanti and arijotutu get but and replace with a veteran like jabar gaffney, someone who is productive and can be a vet presence in that group in case god forbid something were to happen to smitty. Go Panthers!

Posted by: Justin | Aug 29, 2012 11:23:28 AM

i agree, cut a few bubbles...and grab people from elsewhere that are easily better.

armanti should go, pick up some WR that has done something in their career.

Posted by: juice box hero | Aug 29, 2012 11:34:31 AM

I cant believe Armond Smith on the RB cut list - with Poole having a concussion, I would think he gets an injury settlement and we keep Smith. Smith looked good in the last game.

Posted by: manu4t | Aug 29, 2012 11:40:50 AM

I'm not completely agree with you, here you can find my projected final Roster

Offense:
QB: Newton, Anderson
RB: Williams, Stewart.
FB: Tolbert
WR: Smith, LaFell, Joe Adams, Murphy, Ajirotutu, Pilares
TE: Olsen, Barnidge, Brockel
OL: Kalil, Hangartner, Pollak, Silatolu, Bell, Campbell, Gross, Garry Williams.

Defense:
DT: Edwards, Fua, Kearse, McClain, Neblett
DE: Alexander, Applewhite, Hardy, Johnson, Keiser
LB: Anderson, Beason, Davis, Kuechly, Onatolu, Phillips, Senn, Jason Williams.
CB: Butler, Gamble, Munnerlyn, Norman, Josh Thomas,
S: Godfrey, Martin, Nakamura, Nelson, Reggie
Smith

Special Teams:
LS: Jansen
P: Nortman
K: Medlock

Practice Squad (12 players, I don't know is it possible or not):
RB: Armond Smith
RB: Tauren Poole
TE: Joe Jon Finley
TE: Nelson Rosario
WR: Jared Green
WR: Lamont Bryant
OL: Matt Reynolds
OL: Bryant Browning
OL: Jeff Byers
S: DJ Campbell
DT: Nate Chandler
DE: Ryan Van Bergen

Posted by: Rockdrigo | Aug 29, 2012 11:43:51 AM

I believe Darius Butler makes the team. I like what I saw out of him last year

Posted by: Gimbel | Aug 29, 2012 11:54:55 AM

supercuts on da house!

Posted by: pickles | Aug 29, 2012 12:01:42 PM

Great job on the preview for the 53 man roster. Don't be surprised if a the Panthers cut it down to 50 or 51 players, picking up a few free agents along the way.

As for Armanti Edwards, he has been given plenty of chances, so no more excuses. Not too many App State graduates get One Million Dollars, so Armanti was well taken care of.

Posted by: Panthers for Playoffs in 2013 | Aug 29, 2012 12:10:21 PM

Isn't Jared Green Darrell Greens son. If he has his Fathers Speed then stick him on the practice squad and start teaching him to be a cornerback even if he is short. His Dad seem to do ok just with his speed for a little guy.

Posted by: Rick Rogers | Aug 29, 2012 12:12:08 PM

Not too many Central Michigan graduates get jobs.

Posted by: Central Michigan LOLOL | Aug 29, 2012 12:13:32 PM

I also think cuts will be down to 51-52 with the Panthers leaving a spot or two open for upgrades over their current roster.

Posted by: nosebleed fan | Aug 29, 2012 12:18:03 PM

I think they should keep Green and drop Edwards and Ajirotutu. No chance of Clausen being around. If we got that bad off, we'll pick up a random free agent.

Posted by: Dubs | Aug 29, 2012 12:25:34 PM

I would rather cut Jimmy Clausen, and keep AE as the emergency QB. He plays hard when in, blocks well down field, and offers a little more than the others as far as offensive flexability, which was something mentioned by Chud in an intervew last season.

Although I think AE's role would be similar to that of a Julian Edleman, (WR NE), I think he makes the team. Regardless of the talk, it will come down toThursday Night. If he is in with Anderson, I think we will see him make some plays. As for the depth chart shown above, He was in with the first team on 4 WR packages Sunday night.

Posted by: JC | Aug 29, 2012 12:29:35 PM

Even as an ASU alumni, I will admit that Edwards has underachieved for the level he was drafted at. But to put "Tutu" ahead of him is a joke. At least Armanti catches the football when it is thrown to him. I cannot understand what the coaching staff's infatuation with "Tutu" aka "Legedu version 2.0" is. The guy has played HORRIBLY all preseason long. I would rather them keep Poole and just have a ton of RB's than keep Tutu.

Posted by: AppGrad04 | Aug 29, 2012 12:32:07 PM

@Justin I agree. But I also would like to see Jason Williams stay for the same reason. He is one of the bright spots on special teams.

Posted by: c-boss | Aug 29, 2012 12:46:10 PM

Would love to know how Craptain Munnerlyn, statistically the worst CB in the league last year, can be considered a lock. I hope you are wrong, his time is up. He brings nothing good to this team...

Posted by: Fast Freddie | Aug 29, 2012 12:53:51 PM

Armond Smith will be picked up by someone else....and will come back to haunt us.

Posted by: eduardo | Aug 29, 2012 12:59:03 PM

cut armanti and pick up some other cut player that at least played for a D1 school....

Posted by: juice box hero | Aug 29, 2012 1:01:28 PM

I agree with the commentators who wonder why Tutu makes the team. He drops passes on offense, and I have yet to see him do anything at all on special teams.

Joe Adams is a lock for now returning punts, but he has done little as a receiver. So i don't see him ahead of Edwards there.

As for AE: anybody who has been watching THIS YEAR has seen him do productive, error free work returning punts and kicks, as well as catching passes and blocking out of the WR position. I think he stays and moves up as the season progresses.

Posted by: Caliban | Aug 29, 2012 1:05:42 PM

We mind as well cut Clausen, cause he'll most likely never step foot on the field of an REGULAR SEASON NFL game again as a Carolina Panther. Not as long as Cam and Anderson are in the picture.

Sign Tauren Poole to the practice squad. He's extremely quick, concussion or no concussion. He can play like a Mike Goodson type of role if Tolbert is gonna be the starting FB.

Cut Armanti and TuTu, definitely. Sign Jared Green to the practice squad. I like what I read about him. WE DO NOT NEED TO BRING IN ANYMORE WIDE RECEIVERS TO THIS TEAM. Louis Murphy, remember the name because he is gonna play a HUGE role for this team this year. Look to see him step in and play the #1 God forbid anything happened to Smitty. Good hands and great playmaking ability.

Tight Ends are good, although I am still feeling some type of way that we didnt bring back Shockey. But I do look forward to seeing what Barnidge is and WILL do for us this season as the #2.

Keep Browning and Williams. Especially Williams. He plays guard and tackle.

Honestly, I say we cut Fua and keep Kearse. Fua doesnt really seem to cut it, even if he is massive. I was hearing alot of good things about Kearse during the offseason. And he's tall, I believe.

No problem w/ the LBs, although I must say, Luke Kuechly is THE MAN. I hope is overall on Madden is AT LEAST an 85. He was in on almost every tackle. Prediction: Defensive ROY w/ at least 95 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3 force fumbles, and 3 picks.

I like what I saw out of Josh Thomas and Reggie Smith so far. I really hope we can keep both. Im still not sure about Butler...but definitely cut Pugh.

We made the right choice in cutting the old guys. I like Medlock alot. Mare was never going to be able to win this city back over.

THIS IS THE TEAM THAT WILL LEAD US TO THE SUPER BOWL THIS YEAR.

Posted by: Godwin | Aug 29, 2012 1:19:23 PM

Ajirotutu is the only "big target" that we have.
In my opinion, if we cut "tutu" we need to pick other "Big Target" via free agency.

Posted by: Rockdrigo | Aug 29, 2012 1:22:09 PM

While I tne to agree Rockdrigo...a "big Target" does you no good if he cannot catch the football.

Posted by: AppGrad04 | Aug 29, 2012 1:27:47 PM

Agree with you AppGrad04, Ajirotutu has had a horrible preseason, but also we need to keep in mind that he played in San Diego when Rivera was there.
We need to consider a lot of things.

In my opinion Ajirotutu needs to be cutted! but I don't think that Rivera will do that.

Posted by: Rockdrigo | Aug 29, 2012 1:38:07 PM

Your offense is reasonable - for defense I would keep 25 players:

5 DTs (Van Bergen, Fua, McClain, Edwards and Kearse) 5 CBs (Gamble, Captian, Norwood, Thomas and Butler) 5 DEs (Alexander, Keiser, Hardy, Applewhite and Johnson) 6 LBs(Beason, TD, Luke, Phillips, Anderson and Senn) and 4 safties (Godfrey, Nakamura, Martin and Smith). After four games I would then pick either a DE or DT to cut to make room for Neblett - or I would cut him.

Posted by: Dom | Aug 29, 2012 1:45:37 PM

Lord I hope we finally cut our losses with this joke of a gamble on Armanti Edwards. We gave up too much and still have allowed this guy to hang around for far too long. Free up this roster spot to eventually get someone who actually has NFL talent ...

Posted by: Ron Rivera | Aug 29, 2012 1:49:15 PM

Hey Caliban...wishful thinking about Armanti. He made 1 tackle in the game against the Jets. Face it...it's over, dude.

If only the Cats had drafted Antonio Brown.

Posted by: Chippewas Rule!!! | Aug 29, 2012 1:50:37 PM

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