Panthers Team Depth and Surprise Cuts

Jonathan Stewart
Going into training camp, General Manager Dave Gettleman and Head Coach Ron Rivera will hope to fill all roster needs to have a productive camp. If that means going longer or shorter at certain positions, they will have to make those tough decisions for the benefit of the team. Because the Panthers are such a young team, Rivera doesn’t have to worry tremendously about managing veteran reps to save their bodies for the season. Let’s be honest, no one wants to see a star player go down to injury before seeing any real game action. Injuries happen, however, especially to Jonathan Stewart (injured already), and Carolina’s front office needs to be prepared for any and everything.  The will also have to mine a few unknown gems to fill a few needs offensively and defensively.

This season, I truly believe we will see the wisdom of the Dave Gettleman hire. I’ve always felt that bringing Gettleman to Charlotte was a perfect marriage. With so many new faces in the secondary and at wide receiver and the depth chart still up in the air, these aren’t positions where Gettleman will look to make drastic cuts. He’ll be looking for a few young guys grow with a good mix of veteran leadership.  Camp will tell the tale in the end for this team. This may be one of the few times where you should be able to see who should start, as looks like there may be a real competition at wideout and defensive back. Starting tomorrow, they’ll have to play their way onto the field.

Carolina Panthers Offensive LineGettleman may look to cut corners at linebacker, given the talent between Luke Keuchly and Thomas Davis and Sean McDermott’s tendency towards zone coverage. I believe AJ Klein is ready to take that next step, which leads me to my surprise cut—Chase  Blackburn.  The former Giant’s leadership and experience is valuable, but I think the Panthers need to develop younger guys at other positions will result Gettleman cutting Blackburn late in camp. Anderson Russell and the newly signed Anthony Morales may be among these young players Carolina hopes to groom.  Don’t be surprised to see Blackburn go in order to keep a younger guy with less immediate value, but with future potential around.

One of the biggest strengths of this team has been its defensive line, mainly because the money and draft pics invested in the front four. With the money invested in Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy and 1st and 2nd round picks on Star and Short respectively, the defense  is clearly the engine driving this team. Maybe with such an elite group, Carolina can go short here and look to help the side of the ball that most needs it—the offense. With such a young group, they will be the key in how far this team goes. With the injury to the 4th round pick Edmund Kugbila, the Panthers need to go long at offensive lineman, meaning that back up running backs and quarterbacks should be on alert.  Joe Webb could be cut or one of the many wide receivers

There is so much to weigh when trying to put a roster together, but with Dave Gettleman running the show I feel like the Panthers are in good hands. You have to be able to churn the bottom of a roster to make the team better because, in the end, you’re only as good as your worst player.   

By Joshua Cornelius