Carolina Panthers Roster 2012: Latest News, Cuts, Preseason Predictions

Jimmy GrapponeCorrespondent IAugust 7, 2012

Carolina Panthers Roster 2012: Latest News, Cuts, Preseason Predictions

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    Cut day has arrived in the Charlotte, North Carolina for the Carolina Panthers after wrapping up their preseason August 30 with a 17-16 road loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Carolina's preparations for the 2012 NFL season began at Wofford College on July 27 when they opened training camp for the 18th time at Panthers owner Jerry Richardson's alma mater and the preseason began with a home loss to the Houston Texans at Bank of America Stadium on August 11.

    The Panthers sandwiched their preseason defeats with a Friday night home victory against the Miami Dolphins and in a Sunday night road win against the New York Jets.

    Among the most newsworthy events of the first week of training camp:

    Jeff Otah's contract with the Panthers was terminated after he was traded to the New York Jets, failed his physical and was shipped back to Carolina, where he failed yet another physical.

    Captain Munnerlyn has already been in a couple of shoving matches with offensive stars Steve Smith and Jonathan Stewart after they took issue with his physical style of play.

    Munnerlyn's main competitors for his starting cornerback position, Brandon Hogan (knee) and Josh Norman (hamstring), have already missed practices due to minor injuries.

    Bookmark this page and check back often for updates on news regarding the Panthers' roster and depth chart.

    All information in this article regarding the Carolina Panthers' current roster and roster moves comes from the team's official website at www.panthers.com and from The Charlotte Observer if not otherwise noted.

August 31 Cuts: Finalizing the 53-Man Roster

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    August 31, 2010 is judgement day for the 75 players on the Carolina Panthers' roster who made it to the end of preseason.

    This is the day the Panthers have to cut their active roster down to 53 players and start getting ready for the regular season.

    Here is a look at the players Carolina has released today so far as reported by The Charlotte Observer's Joseph Person and Jonathan Jones. 

    Cuts made earlier in the week to reduce the roster from 90 players down to 75 are examined on the following slide.

    Check back for more updates throughout the day and over the weekend.

     

    Final Cuts

    Wide Receiver, Seyi Ajirotutu: Former Charger dropped to many passes in preseason games to contend for third or fourth receiver position ahead of Louis Murphy and Kealoha Pilares.

    Guard, Bryant Browning:  Three-year starter at Ohio State played in one game for the Panthers after being called up from the practice squad last season.

    Wide Receiver, Lamont Bryant (R):  Played opposite Justin Blackmon last season before injury cost him half of his senior season at Oklahoma State.

    Cornerback, Darius Butler: Potential nickle back and former second-round pick by New England Patriots also had a solid camp but could not unseat Captain Munnerlyn in the secondary.

    Defensive Tackle, Nate Chandler (R):  Undrafted rookie free agent from UCLA made it to final cut and will get a chance to play in the NFL.

    Tight End, Joe Jon Finley:  Practice squad journeyman could not break through deep tight end corps.

    Wide Receiver, Jared Green (R):  Son of Hall of Famer Darrell Green could return as a member of the practice squad.

    Safety, Jonathan Nelson:  Recorded 11 tackles and an interception for the Panthers in 2011 after being called up from practice squad for final two games of the season.

    Linebacker, David Nixon:  Signed with the Panthers on the first day of training camp after playing in eight games for the St. Louis Ram in 2011.

    Defensive Tackle, Ogemdi Nwagbuo: Former San Diego Chargers tackle brought to Carolina by Ron Rivera did not make final cut despite four-game suspension of Andre Neblett to start the season.

    Running Back, Tauren Poole:  Did not play again in preseason after suffering a concussion and injured ribs in impressive preseason opening performance against Houston Texans.

    Safety, Jordan Pugh:  Backup safety and special teams player for Panthers in his first two seasons should be picked up by another team.

    Tackle, Matt Reynolds (R):  Tied BYU record with 52 career starts but could not make the cut with the Panthers in first NFL tryout.

    Tight End, Nelson Rosario (R):  Undrafted rookie free agent played wide receiver at UCLA but was too slight to make the team as a tight end.

    Running Back, Armond Smith:  Appeared poised to make the team as backup to DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart after solid perfomances in final two preseason games.

    Cornerback, R.J. Stanford: Cut despite solid training camp and will likely find his way onto another team or on the Panthers' practice squad.

    Defensive End, Ryan Van Bergen:  Panthers have a strong rotation of solid defensive ends/pass rushing outside linebackers in Charles Johnson, Greg Hardy, Thomas Keiser, Frank Alexander and Antwan Applewhite.

    Guard, Justin Wells:  Spent just 23 days with the Panthers after signing on for training camp on August 8.

    Linebacker, Jason Williams:  Led the Panthers with 15 special teams tackles in 2011.

    Guard, Zack Williams:  Panthers' sixth-round draft choice in 2011 spent entire rookie season on injured reserve after tearing left ACL in training camp last year.

    Linebacker, Kion Wilson:  Recorded just one tackle in five games after being pulled up from Panthers' practice squad in 2011.

    Released

    Safety, Reggie Smith:  Played in every game for the San Francisco 49ers past two seasons as a backup safety.

    Acquisitions

    Safety, Colin Jones:  Adds depth to the Panthers' secondary and special teams after being traded for a future seventh round draft pick going to the San Francisco 49ers.

    Carolina Panthers Preseason Roster (Updated 8/31/2012)*
    NameNumberPositionSizeExp.
    Adams, Joe15WR5-11, 180R
    Alexander, Frank90DE6-4, 270R
    Anderson, Derek3QB6-6, 2308
    Anderson, James50LB6-2, 2357
    Applewhite, Antwan93DE6-3, 2705
    Barnidge, Gary82TE6-5, 2505
    Beason, Jon52LB6-0, 2356
    Bell, Byron77T6-5, 3402
    Brockel, Richie47TE6-1, 2552
    Byers, Jeff62C6-4, 3101
    Campbell, Bruce73T6-6, 3153
    Campbell, D.J.26S6-0, 200R
    Clausen, Jimmy7QB6-2, 2153
    Davis, Thomas58LB6-1, 2358
    Edwards, Armanti4WR5-11, 1903
    Edwards, Ron96DT6-3, 32512
    Fua, Sione94DT6-1, 3102
    Gamble, Chris20CB6-1, 2059
    Godfrey, Charles30S5-11, 2105
    Gross, Jordan69T6-4, 30510
    Hangartner, Geoff63G6-5, 3008
    Hardy, Greg76DE6-4, 2903
    Harsock, Ben84TW6-4, 2609
    Jansen, J.J.44LS6-2, 2455
    Johnson, Charles95DE6-2, 2856
    Jones, Colin S6-0, 2082
    Kalil, Ryan67C6-2, 2956
    Kearse, Frank99DT6-5, 3152
    Keiser, Thomas98DE6-4, 2602
    Kuechly, Luke59LB6-3, 235R
    LaFell, Brandon11WR6-2, 2103
    Martin, Sherrod23S6-1, 2004
    McClain, Terrell97DT6-2, 3002
    Medlock, Justin6K5-11, 2001
    Munnerlyn, Captain41CB5-8, 1904
    Murphy, Louis83WR6-2, 2004
    Nakamura, Haruki43S5-10, 2055
    *Neblett, Andre68DT6-0, 3103
    Newton, Cam1QB6-5, 2452
    Norman, Josh24CB6-0, 195R
    Nortman, Brad8P6-2, 210R
    Olsen, Greg88TE6-5, 2556
    Onatolu, Kenny56LB6-2, 2354
    Phillips, Jason53LB6-1, 2404
    Pilares, Kealoha81WR5-10, 2002
    Pollak, Mike74G6-3, 3005
    Senn, Jordan57LB5-11, 2255
    Silatolu, Amini61G6-4, 315R
    Smith, Steve89WR5-9, 18512
    Stewart, Jonathan28RB5-10, 2355
    Thomas, Josh22CB5-11, 1902
    Tolbert, Mike35FB5-9, 2455
    Williams, DeAngelo34RB5-9, 2157
    Williams, Garry65T6-3, 3204

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    *Andre Neblett will serve a four game suspension for PEDs to start the season and he does not count against the Panthers' 53-man roster.

     

August 27: Roster Cut to 75 Players

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    The Carolina Panthers made their most significant roster moves of the preseason so far on August 27, reducing their preseason roster from 90 players down to 75.

    NFL teams have until August 31 to pare their active rosters down to 53 players for the regular season.

    The most significant names who will not be on the Panthers' opening day roster are David Gettis, Brandon Hogan, Olindo Mare and Eric Norwood.

    Here is a look at the players Carolina released or made inactive prior to their final preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 30.

     

    Released

    Punter, Nick Harris:  The 12-year NFL vet punted for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season and was brought in to compete with rookie sixth-round draft pick Brad Nortman.

    Kicker, Olindo Mare:  Carolina's kicker in 2011 missed crucial field goals against the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons last season after replacing fan-favorite John Kasay.

     

    Waived

    Wide Receiver, Darvin Adams:  Cam Newton's favorite target at Auburn in 2010 was a late season call up from the practice squad in 2011.

    Guard, Roger Allen:  Practice squad journeyman entered camp behind second-round draft pick Amini Silatolu and veteran free agent Mike Pollak.

    Wide Receiver, Michael Avila (R):  Undrafted rookie free agent from San Jose State provided an extra set of hands for Panthers' quarterbacks during mini-camps, organized team activities (OTAs) and training camp. 

    Wide Receiver, Brenton Bersin (R):  Rookie receiver from Wofford College was a feel-good story who grew up in owner Jerry Richardon's neighborhood, but he was always a long shot to make the team.

    Guard, Will Blackwell (R):  The second-team All-America from LSU changed his wedding date to attend OTAs as an undrafted free agent this spring.

    Defensive End, Eric Norwood:  Former third-round draft pick is first significant player from 2009 draft to get the axe, but he will not likely be the only casualty from his class.

    Running Back, Lyndon Rowells (R):  Rookie out of Humboldt State was outplayed by young running backs Tauren Poole and Armond Smith trying to earn a spot in Panthers' crowded backfield.

    Tight End, Greg Smith:  Former Texas Longhorn spent 2011 season on Panthers' practice squad but could not break through at talented tight end position.

    Running Back, Josh Vaughan:  Third-year player was up and down between practice squad and active roster previous two season and could get a shot in someone else's camp looking for special teams help.

    Wide Receiver, Rico Wallace (R):  Division-III stud at Shenandoah could not make the cut in his first, and likely only, NFL tryout.

     

    Injured Reserve

    Cornerback, Brandon Hogan:  Second-year player was expected to compete with Josh Norman (R) and Captain Munnerlyn for starting cornerback position after spending most of 2011 on physically unable to perform (PUP) list, but a leg injury kept him out of camp and makes him ineligible for 2012 pending a rules change by the NFL which would allow each club to activate one player from injured reserve (IR) during the season.

     

    Physically Unable to Perform

    Wide Receiver, David Gettis:  Third-year receiver is still regaining leg strength after ACL-tear kept him on IR in 2011, but he could work his way into the lineup midway through the season as Panthers' third or fourth receiver option.  

      

Latest Roster Moves

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    Recent Panthers Roster Moves

    8/15/2012: The Carolina Panthers re-signed running back Armond Smith after previously waiving the former Cleveland Browns player on July 26.

    Smith is a long shot to make the Panthers roster, though, as their already crowded backfield may get even more crowded if undrafted rookie free agent Tauren Poole continues to play well.

    The Panthers also released offensive guard Andre Dawkins who they signed on August 10 to take offensive tackle Lee Ziemba's roster spot.

     

    8/13/2012: The Carolina Panthers signed running back Jonathan Stewart to a five-contract extension worth $36.5 million.

    Stewart rushed for 761 yards (5.4 ypc) and four touchdowns in 2011 and he teams with DeAngelo Williams to form one of the best tailback tandems in the NFL.


    8/11/2012: The Carolina Panthers placed offensive tackle on injured reserve. Ziemba was initially waived on August 10.

     

    8/10/2012: The Carolina Panthers waived injured offensive tackle Lee Ziemba and signed offensive guard Andre Ramsey.

    Ziemba was a sixth-round pick by the Panthers in 2011 and he appeared in six games last season.

    Ramsey is a second year player who appeared in two games last season for the Buffalo Bills.

     

    8/8/2012: The Carolina Panthers waived undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Hubert Anyiam. 

    Anyiam played wide receiver for Oklahoma State opposite first-round draft pick Justin Blackmon in 2011.

    Though no official statement is currently available, the team's transactions list indicates his release was injury related.  Anyiam broke his foot halfway through his senior season at Oklahoma State.

    Carolina signed offensive guard Justin Wells to take Anyiam's roster spot.  Wells participated in Panthers mini-camp earlier in the offseason.

     

    8/2/2012: The Carolina Panthers signed free-agent cornerback Nate Ness to add depth to a banged up secondary with Brandon Hogan (knee) and Josh Norman (hamstring) not practicing.

    The roster spot was made available when the team released offensive tackle Jeff Otah earlier in the day after he was shipped back to the Panthers after failing a physical during his short stay with the New York Jets.

    Carolina attempted to trade Otah to the Jets on July 24, but the trade was voided after he failed to pass the team's physical.

    7/30/2012: The Carolina Panthers released former San Diego Chargers and Wake Forest University defensive end Jyles Tucker after he voluntarily left camp

    General manager Marty Hurney told the Associated Press that Tucker, who is listed at 255 pounds, reported to camp under 230 pounds and asked to leave camp to get bigger.

    7/27/2012: The Carolina Panthers signed outside linebacker David Nixon to take running back Armond Smith's roster spot.

    Nixon appeared in eight games for the St. Louis Rams in 2011, and he has also played for the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders since entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Brigham Young in 2009.

    7/26/2012: The Carolina Panthers released running back Armond Smith to thin out an already crowded backfield.

    Carolina will either keep four or five running backs on its roster, including fullback Mike Tolbert, and Smith was not going to make the team.

    7/24/2012: The Carolina Panthers traded an unconditional draft pick to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for wide receiver Louis Murphy.

    Murphy, who started 19 games in three seasons with the Oakland Raiders, has 90 career catches for 1,371 yards in 41 professional games, and he is expected to compete for the Panthers' No. 3 wide receiver position.

    Murphy was a teammate of Cam Newton's at the University of Florida in 2008.

     

    Complete list of offseason transactions by the Carolina Panthers via the team's website at www.panthers.com.

    This list is up to date as of August 15, 2012.

    8/15/2012

    Waived G Andre Ramsey

    8/15/2012

    Free agent signing RB Armond Smith

    8/16/2012

    Extension signing RB Jonathan Stewart

    8/11/2012

    Injured reserve T Lee Ziemba

    8/12/2012

    Free agent signing G Andre Ramsey

    8/10/2012

    Waived/injured T Lee Ziemba

    08/08/2012

    Waived/injury settlement WR Hubert Anyiam

    08/08/2012

    Free agent signing G Justin Wells

    08/02/2012

    Free agent signing CB Nate Ness
    08/02/2012 Released T Jeff Otah
    07/30/2012 Released DE Jyles Tucker
    07/27/2012 Free agent signing LB David Nixon
    07/26/2012 Waived RB Armond Smith
    07/24/2012 Acquired WR Louis Murphy in trade
    06/11/2012 Undrafted rookie signing WR Michael Avila
    06/11/2012 Undrafted rookie signing WR Lamont Bryant
    06/11/2012 Waived WR Wes Kemp
    06/11/2012 Waived WR Chris Manno
    05/24/2012 Waived RB Princeton McCarty
    05/24/2012 Free agent signing TE Nelson Rosario
    05/21/2012 Free agent signing WR Hubert Anyiam
    05/21/2012 Waived DT Jason Shirley
    05/16/2012 Free agent signing TE Joe Jon Finley
    05/16/2012 Waived TE Tarren Lloyd
    05/15/2012 Waiver claim RB Armond Smith
    05/15/2012 Waived CB Reggie Sullivan
    05/11/2012 Undrafted rookie signing WR Brenton Bersin
    05/11/2012 Undrafted rookie signing G Will Blackwell
    05/11/2012 Undrafted rookie signing DT Nate Chandler
    05/11/2012 Waived LB Phillip Dillard
    05/11/2012 Undrafted rookie signing WR Jared Green
    05/11/2012 Undrafted rookie signing WR Wes Kemp
    05/11/2012 Undrafted rookie signing TE Tarren Lloyd
    05/11/2012 Undrafted rookie signing RB Princeton McCarty
    05/11/2012 Undrafted rookie signing RB Tauren Poole
    05/11/2012 Undrafted rookie signing T Matt Reynolds
    05/11/2012 Undrafted rookie signing RB Lyndon Rowells
    05/11/2012 Undrafted rookie signing DE Ryan Van Bergen
    05/11/2012 Undrafted rookie signing WR Rico Wallace
    05/07/2012 Free agent signing P Nick Harris
    04/28/2012 Drafted S D.J. Campbell (7)
    04/28/2012 Drafted P Brad Nortman (6)
    04/28/2012 Drafted CB Josh Norman (5)
    04/28/2012 Drafted WR Joe Adams (4b)
    04/28/2012 Drafted DE Frank Alexander (4a)
    04/27/2012 Drafted G Amini Silatolu (2)
    04/26/2012 Drafted LB Luke Kuechly (1)
    04/12/2012 Unrestricted free agent re-signing LB Jordan Senn
    04/10/2012 Extension signing WR Steve Smith
    04/04/2012 Unrestricted free agent signing S Reggie Smith
    03/30/2012 Acquired T Bruce Campbell in trade
    03/30/2012 Traded RB Mike Goodson
    03/29/2012 Unrestricted free agent re-signing DE Antwan Applewhite
    03/23/2012 Free agent signing WR Chris Manno
    03/22/2012 Free agent signing LB Kenny Onatolu
    03/22/2012 Unrestricted free agent signing G Mike Pollak
    03/20/2012 Unrestricted free agent re-signing QB Derek Anderson
    03/19/2012 Unrestricted free agent signing FB Mike Tolbert
    03/16/2012 Unrestricted free agent signing S Haruki Nakamura
    03/16/2012 Waived DT DeMario Pressley
    03/14/2012 Released P Jason Baker
    03/14/2012 Released G Travelle Wharton
    03/13/2012 Extension signing G Geoff Hangartner
    03/07/2012 Waived K Adi Kunalic
    03/06/2012 Free agent signing K Justin Medlock
    02/21/2012 Free agent signing DE Jyles Tucker
    02/08/2012 Extension signing LS J.J. Jansen
    02/01/2012 Extension signing LB Jason Phillips
    01/03/2012 Free agent signing G Roger Allen
    01/03/2012 Free agent signing LB Phillip Dillard
    01/03/2012 Free agent signing TE Greg Smith
    01/03/2012 Free agent signing CB Reggie Sullivan

Full Team Roster and Projected Depth Chart by Position

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    Carolina Panthers Training Camp and Preseason Roster

    Carolina Panthers Training Camp and Preseason Roster (Updated 8/27/2012)*
    NameNumberPositionSizeExp.
    Adams, Darvin13WR6-2, 1952
    Adams, Joe15WR5-11, 180R
    Arijotutu, Seyi19WR6-3, 2153
    Alexander, Frank90DE6-4, 270R
    Allen, Roger66G6-3, 3253
    Anderson, Derek3QB6-6, 2308
    Anderson, James50LB6-2, 2357
    Applewhite, Antwan93DE6-3, 2705
    Avila, Michael17WR5-8, 165R
    Barnidge, Gary82TE6-5, 2505
    Beason, Jon52LB6-0, 2356
    Bell, Byron77T6-5, 3402
    Bersin, Brenton5WR6-3, 205R
    Blackwell, Will71G6-3, 300R
    Brockel, Richie47TE6-1, 2552
    Browning, Bryant60G6-4, 3251
    Bryant, Lamont18WR6-5, 225R
    Butler, Darius27CB5-10, 1854
    Byers, Jeff62C6-4, 3101
    Campbell, Bruce73T6-6, 3153
    Campbell, D.J.26S6-0, 200R
    Chandler, Nate78DT6-4, 300R
    Clausen, Jimmy7QB6-2, 2153
    Davis, Thomas58LB6-1, 2358
    Edwards, Armanti4WR5-11, 1903
    Edwards, Ron96DT6-3, 32512
    Fonley, Joe Jon49TE6-6, 2501
    Fua, Sione94DT6-1, 3102
    Gamble, Chris20CB6-1, 2059
    Gettis, David12WR6-3, 2203
    Godfrey, Charles30S5-11, 2105
    Green, Jared9WR6-1, 185R
    Gross, Jordan69T6-4, 30510
    Hangartner, Geoff63G6-5, 3008
    Hardy, Greg76DE6-4, 2903
    Harris, Nick2P6-2, 21012
    Harsock, Ben84TW6-4, 2609
    Hogan, Brandon21CB5-10, 1902
    Jansen, J.J.44LS6-2, 2455
    Johnson, Charles95DE6-2, 2856
    Kalil, Ryan67C6-2, 2956
    Kearse, Frank99DT6-5, 3152
    Keiser, Thomas98DE6-4, 2602
    Kuechly, Luke59LB6-3, 235R
    LaFell, Brandon11WR6-2, 2103
    Mare, Olindo10K5-11, 18516
    Martin, Sherrod23S6-1, 2004
    McClain, Terrell97DT6-2, 3002
    Medlock, Justin6K5-11, 2001
    Munnerlyn, Captain41CB5-8, 1904
    Murphy, Louis83WR6-2, 2004
    Nakamura, Haruki43S5-10, 2055
    Neblett, Andre68DT6-0, 3103
    Nelson, Jonathan37S5-11, 1901
    Ness, Nate40CB6-1, 1903
    Newton, Cam1QB6-5, 2452
    Nixon, David48LB6-3, 2254
    Norman, Josh24CB6-0, 195R
    Nortman, Brad8P6-2, 210R
    Norwood, Eric92DE6-1, 2603
    Nwagbuo, Ogemdi91DT6-4, 3104
    Olsen, Greg88TE6-5, 2556
    Onatolu, Kenny56LB6-2, 2354
    Phillips, Jason53LB6-1, 2404
    Pilares, Kealoha81WR5-10, 2002
    Pollak, Mike74G6-3, 3005
    Poole, Tauren33RB5-10, 215R
    Pugh, Jordan29S5-11, 2103
    Reynolds, Matt70T6-4, 310R
    Rosario, Nelson80TE6-5, 225R
    Rowells, Lyndon38RB59, 215R
    Senn, Jordan57LB5-11, 2255
    Silatolu, Amini61G6-4, 315R
    Smith, Greg85TE6-4, 2551
    Smith, Reggie31S6-1, 2055
    Smith, Steve89WR5-9, 18512
    Stanford, R.J.25CB5-10, 1852
    Stewart, Jonathan28RB5-10, 2355
    Thomas, Josh22CB5-11, 1902
    Tolbert, Mike35FB5-9, 2455
    Van Bergen, Ryan72DE6-4, 300R
    Vaughan, Josh32RB6-0, 2252
    Wallace, Rico4WR6-3, 215R
    Wells, Justin79G6-4, 3161
    Williams, DeAngelo34RB5-9, 2157
    Williams, Garry65T6-3, 3204
    Williams, Jason54LB6-1, 2454
    Williams, Zack64OL6-1, 3152
    Wilson, Kion42LB6-0, 2303
    Ziemba, Lee75T6-6, 3202

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     *All Carolina Panthers roster information contained in this article is courtesy of the team's official website, www.panthers.com.

     

    Projected Depth Chart**

    Offense

    Wide Receiver No. 1: 1. Steve Smith, 2. Kealoha Pilares, 3. Seyi Ajirotutu, 4. Armanti Edwards, 5. Jared Green (R)

    Wide Receiver No. 2: 1. Brandon LaFell, 2. Louis Murphy, 3. David Gettis, 4. Joe Adams (R), 5. Lamont Bryant

    Left Tackle: 1. Jordan Gross, 2. Garry Williams

    Left Guard: 1. Amini Silatolu, 2. Mike Pollak

    Center: 1. Ryan Kalil, 2. Jeff Byers

    Right Guard: 1. Geoff Hangartner, 2. Bryant Browning, 3. Justin Wells

    Right Tackle: 1. Byron Bell, 2. Bruce Campbell, 3. Matt Reynolds

    Tight End: 1. Greg Olsen, 2. Gary Barndige, 3. Ben Hartsock, 4. Regggie Brockel

    Quarterback: 1. Cam Newton, 2. Derek Anderson, 3. Jimmy Clausen

    Fullback: 1. Mike Tolbert, 2. Richie Brockell

    Running Back: 1. DeAngelo Williams, 2. Jonathan Stewart, 3. Tauren Poole (R), 4. Armond Smith

     

    Defense

    Left Defensive End: 1. Greg Hardy, 2. Thomas Keiser, 3. Eric Norwood, 4. Ryan Van Bergen (R)

    Left Defensive Tackle: 1. Terrell McClain, 2. Frank Kearse, 3. Andre Neblett, 4. Nate Chandler (R)

    Nose Tackle: 1. Ron Edwards, 2. Sione Fua, 3. Ogemdi Nwagbuo

    Right Defensive End: 1. Charles Johnson, 2. Antwan Applewhite, 3. Frank Alexander (R)

    Strong Linebacker: 1. James Anderson, 2. Thomas Davis, 3. Kion Wilson, 4. Kenny Onatolu

    Middle Linebacker: 1. Jon Beason, 2. Jason Phillips

    Weak Linebacker: 1. Luke Kuechly(R), 2. Jordan Senn, 3. Jason Williams, 4. David Nixon

    Left Cornerback: 1. Chris Gamble, 2. Darius Butler, 3. Josh Thomas

    Strong Safety: 1. Charles Godfrey, 2. Jordan Pugh, 3. Reggie Smith

    Free Safety: 1. Haruki Nakamura, 2. Sherrod Martin, 3. D.J. Campbell, 4. Jonathan Nelson

    Right Cornerback: 1. Josh Norman (R), 2. Captain Munnerlyn, 3. R.J. Stanford

     

    Special Teams

    Punter: 1. Brad Nortman (R)

    Place Kicker: 1. Justin Medlock

    Long Snapper: 1. J.J. Jansen

    Punt Returner: 1. Joe Adams (R), 2. Captain Munnerlyn

    Kick Returner: 1. Kealoha Pilares, 2. Armond Smith

    **The latest official depth charts available on the Panthers' website can be found here.

    

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    The Carolina Panthers will make their first big roster cuts when they get down to 75 players on August 27. The final 53-man roster will be set on August 31.

    Here is a look at the top-five bubble players trying to make the team.

    Updates will be posted throughout the preseason.

     

    1. Jordan Senn, Linebacker

    Jordan Senn is a fiery, undersized linebacker who played big for the Panthers when he was thrust into the starting lineup in the second half of last season. The Panthers are especially skilled and deep at the linebacker positions, and Senn will see spotty play on defense, though he will be a leader on special teams.


    2. Josh Vaughan, Running Back

    Josh Vaughan has been activated twice from the Panthers' practice squad in his first two seasons for a total of 10 games. His career rushing stats are 10 carries for 31 yards and a touchdown, and he will not see many opportunities in the backfield this season, but he is a solid special teams player and will make the 53-man roster to start the season for the first time in his career.

     

    3. Jordan Pugh, Safety

    Jordan Pugh is likely fifth on the Panthers' depth chart at safety, but he will find a spot on special teams. Pugh has shown flashes of ability in his first two seasons with the Panthers, and this could be a make-or-break season that determines his future with the team.

     

    4. Eric Norwood, Defensive End

    Eric Norwood has yet to live up to expectations in his first two NFL seasons, but the former fourth-round draft pick will get another opportunity to show off his pass-rushing skills when the Panthers line up in a 3-4 defensive set this season. Norwood could be among the Panthers' leading sack artists if used properly.

     

    5. Nelson Rosario (R), Tight End

    Nelson Rosario is thin for the tight end position at 6'5" and 225 pounds, and he won't play much in the running game, but the undrafted rookie free agent from UCLA has great hands and size that could make him a matchup nightmare in the red zone.

Last 5 out

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    The Carolina Panthers will make their first big roster cuts when they get down to 75 players on August 27. The final 53-man roster will be set on August 31.

    Though there have not yet been any cuts in the traditional sense, Jyles Tucker was released after leaving the team to gain weight, and Jeff Otah was released after a failed trade with the Jets sent him back to Carolina.

    Here is a look at the top-five bubble players who the Panthers will cut near the end of the preseason.

    Updates will be posted as players are cut from the team.

     

    Predicting the Last 5 Out 

    1. Will Blackwell (URFA), Offensive Guard

    Will Blackwell will battle second-year player Bryant Browning for the final offensive guard roster spot. Blackwell, a second-team All-American in 2011, will land on another roster, though the Panthers would like to have him on their practice squad. Browning was a late-season call up from the Carolina practice squad in 2011.

     

    2. D.J. Campbell (R), Safety

    D.J. Campbell was the Panthers' final selection in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL draft. Carolina acquired a pair of veteran safeties this offseason in Haruki Nakamura and Reggie Smith, and there simply are not enough roster spots for Campbell to make the 53-man roster.

     

    3. Armanti Edwards, Wide Receiver

    Armanti Edwards' career with the Carolina Panthers will come to an end before the 2012 season begins. Edwards has made strides at wide receiver this offseason, but not enough to make the final roster after Carolina signed Louis Murphy just a week before the start of training camp. Edwards' punt returner duties will be handed over to Joe Adams this season.

     

    4. Tauren Poole (R), Running Back

    Tauren Poole can run the football, but he had the bad, or good, fortune of joining the team with the best backfield in the NFL. Hopefully, Poole will learn as much as he can from DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart before he is cut. Poole is a better runner than Josh Vaughan, but Vaughan will make the team based on special teams.

     

    5. Seyi Ajirotutu, Wide Receiver

    Seyi Ajirotutu is sitting on the bubble for the Panthers' final wide receiver spot, along with Armanti Edwards and Darvin Adams. Ajirotutu will likely sign with a team like the Miami Dolphins, who are desperate for wide receiver help before the season begins.

Quarterbacks

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    Quarterbacks on Roster

    Derek Anderson, Jimmy Clausen, Cam Newton 

     

    Projected Starter

    Cam Newton 

     

    Offseason Additions

    None.

     

    Roster Cuts

    None as of 8/8/12.

     

    Projected Final Roster (2)

    Derek Anderson, Cam Newton

     

    Early Analysis

    Cam Newton is the king of the Queen City.

    Newton, the 2011 NFL Rookie of the Year, will be the Panthers' starting quarterback for many years to come. Newton should be even better in 2012 with his first full offseason of OTA's and mini-camps to prepare.

    Derek Anderson will reprise his role as the Panthers' backup quarterback in 2012.

    A former Pro Bowler, Anderson lacks Newton's mobility and arm strength, but he has the experience to be a serviceable No. 2 option.

    Jimmy Clausen's NFL career still has some life, but not in Carolina.

    The Panthers' second-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft will either be cut or traded before the 2012 NFL season. Look for a trade if he plays well in the Panthers' first two preseason games.

    Carolina will eventually need to look for a mobile quarterback who can run a pro-style offense to back up Newton, but Clausen is not the answer, and since he did not dress for a single game in 2011, the Panthers would be best to part ways with the former Notre Dame star.

Running Backs

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    Running Backs on Roster

    Tauren Poole (R), Lyndon Rowells (R), Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, Josh Vaughan, DeAngelo Williams  

     

    Projected Starters

    DeAngelo Williams (RB), Mike Tolbert (FB) 

     

    Offseason Additions

    Tauren Poole, Lyndon Rowells, Mike Tolbert 

     

    Roster Cuts

    None as of 8/8/12.

     

    Projected Final Roster (4)

    Tauren Poole, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, DeAngelo Williams 

     

    Early Analysis

    DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, aka "Double Trouble," arguably form the most talented backfield in the NFL.

    If the Panthers commit to the running game in 2012, they could become the first backfield mates to rush for over 1,000 yards in the same season twice.

    Josh Vaughan was on the Panthers' practice squad for most of 2011, but he showed up on special teams, and even got a few carries late last season. 

    This could be the season Vaughan finally makes the Panthers roster at the start of the season.

    Mike Tolbert was the Panthers' biggest non-draft acquisition of the offseason.

    Though he is not the biggest or the best blocking fullback in the league, he provides running and pass catching ability from the fullback position.

    Tolbert's versatility will be a boon to Carolina's offense.

Wide Receivers

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    Wide Receivers on Roster

    Darvin Adams, Joe Adams (R), Seyi Ajirotutu, Michael Avila (R), Brenton Bersin (R), Lamont Bryant (R), Armanti Edwards, David Gettis, Jared Green (R), Brandon LaFell, Louis Murphy, Kealoha Pilares, Steve Smith, Rico Wallace (R)

     

    Projected Starters

    Brandon LaFell, Steve Smith 

     

    Offseason Additions

    Joe Adams was drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft out of Arkansas.

    Louis Murphy was acquired via trade from the Oakland Raiders on 7/24/12.

    Michael Avila (San Jose State), Hubert Anyiam (Oklahoma State), Brenton Bersin (Wofford College), Lamont Bryant (Morgan State), Jared Green (Southern), and Rico Wallace (Shenandoah) signed this offseason as undrafted rookie free agents.

     

    Roster Cuts

    Hubert Anyiam was released on 8/8/2012.

     

    Projected Final Roster (6)

    Joe Adams, David Gettis, Brandon LaFell, Louis Murphy, Kealoha Pilares, Steve Smith 

     

    Early Analysis

    Steve Smith, the Panthers' all-time leading receiver and Cam Newton's favorite target, will be back for his 13th season after following a breakout season in 2011.

    Brandon LaFell will be Carolina's No. 2 receiver in 2012.

    Lafell improved throughout the 2011 season and came on particularly strong in the final few games.

    David Gettis is coming back from a torn ACL suffered in training camp a season ago.

    Gettis was a starter heading into camp last season, and his blazing speed gives him an opportunity to complete with LaFell for the No. 2 receiver position.

    Louis Murphy joined the Panthers following a last-minute trade with the Oakland Raiders prior to the start of training camp.

    Murphy will not take LaFell's starting spot, but he will be a welcome addition to a suddenly deeper group of wide receivers.

    The Panthers drafted Joe Adams to replace Armanti Edwards as Carolina's punt returner, but he possesses the quickness and elusiveness to be an effective slot receiver if he can consistently catch the ball.

    Kealoha Pilares will return kickoffs this season, and he also has a chance to move into Carolina's wide receiver rotation in his second season out of Hawaii.

Tight Ends

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    Tight Ends on Roster

    Gary Barnidge, Richie Brockel, Joe Jon Finley, Ben Hartsock, Rosario Nelson, Greg Olsen, Greg Smith 

     

    Projected Starters:

    Gary Barnidge, Greg Olsen

     

    Offseason additions

    Joe Jon Finley signed with the Panthers as a free agent on 5/16/12. He has spent time on the Detroit Lions' and San Francisco 49ers' practice squads.

    Rosario Nelson is an undrafted free agent from UCLA.

     

    Roster Cuts

    None as of 8/8/12.

     

    Projected Final Roster (3)

    Gary Barnidge, Rosario Nelson, Greg Olsen 

     

    Early Analysis

    Greg Olsen was one of Cam Newton's favorite targets in 2011, and he will continue to be a security blanket for Newton and an important red-zone target.

    Gary Barnidge will take Jeremy Shockey's spot as Carolina's other starting tight end, and he has good hands to go with his blocking ability

    Ben Hartsock is more of a blocker than a pass-catcher, and that could come in handy in a run-heavy offense like Carolina's.

    Nelson Rosario is the wild-card of the tight-end group.

    Rosario is more of a hybrid wide receiver/tight end, and he could move up the depth chart by turning into a big receiving threat this season, especially on third downs and in the red zone.

Offensive Tackles

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    Offensive Tackles on Roster

    Byron Bell, Bruce Campbell, Jordan Gross, Matt Reynolds (R), Garry Williams, Lee Ziemba 

     

    Projected Starters

    Byron Bell (RT), Jordan Gross (LT) 

     

    Offseason Additions

    Bruce Campbell was acquired on March 30 in a trade with the Raiders for backup running back Mike Goodson.

    Matt Reynolds is an undrafted rookie free agent from Brigham Young University.

     

    Roster Cuts

    Jeff Otah was terminated by the Panthers on August 2 after being traded to the Jets and shipped back to Carolina after failing two physicals for New York.

     

    Projected Final Roster (4)

    Byron Bell, Bruce Campbell, Jordan Gross, Garry Williams  

     

    Early Analysis 

    Jordan Gross, Carolina's starting left tackle, last made the Pro Bowl in 2009, and he is one of the better tackles in the NFL.

    Byron Bell made an impact as a free-agent rookie in 2011, starting 12 games at right tackle in place of an injured Jeff Otah. Bell is the leading candidate to start at right tackle again in 2012 now that Otah is no longer with the team.

    Bruce Campbell was a monster at the 2010 NFL combine, but did not play much in his rookie year with the Oakland Raiders after being asked to play offensive guard.

    The Panthers acquired the former Maryland Terrapins star in a trade for running back Mike Goodson during the offseason, and they hope to develop him into a dominant offensive tackle. Campbell has more upside than Bell, though Bell is more experienced

    Garry Williams started 11 games at right tackle for the Panthers in 2010, and he will be the primary backup for Gross and Bell.

Offensive Guards

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    Offensive Guards on Roster

    Roger Allen, Will Blackwell (R), Byrant Browning, Geoff Hangartner, Mike Pollak, Amini Silatolu, Justin Wells*

     

    Projected Starters

    Geoff Hangartner (RG), Amini Silatolu (LG)

     

    Offseason Additions

    Roger Allen signed with the Panthers as a free agent on 1/3/12. He spent time on the New Orleans Saints' and the Panthers' practice squads in 2011.

    Will Blackwell is an undrafted free agent from Louisiana State University, where he was a second-team All-American in 2011.

    Mike Pollak signed as a free agent on 3/3/12. He played in 58 games, starting 41, in his four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.

    Amini Silatolu was drafted in the second round (No. 40 overall selection) from Division II Midwestern State.

    Justin Wells signed with the Panthers on 8/8/12 to fill a roster spot vacated by wide receiver Hubert Anyiam.

     

    Roster Cuts

    None as on 8/8/12.

     

    Projected Final Roster (3)

    Geoff Hangartner, Mike Pollak, Amini Silatolu

     

    Early Analysis

     Geoff Hangartner started all 16 games for the Panthers in 2011 and will be be the starting right guard in 2012.

     Amini Silatolu was a surprise second-round draft pick out of Division-II Midwestern State.

    Silatolu has a reputation for being a crushing blocker with a mean streak, but he has a steep learning curve coming from a smaller school and having to learn the Panthers' complicated offense.

    Mike Pollak will be Carolina's primary backup offensive guard after starting 41 games for the Indianapolis Colts during the past four seasons.

    Bryant Browning and Will Blackwell will fight for the final offensive guard position if Carolina keeps four guards, though one or both could end up on the practice squad.

    Blackwell was a second-team All-American at LSU last season, and Browning spent most of his rookie season on the Panthers' practice squad before being activated late last season.

Centers

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    Centers on Roster

    Jeff Byers, Ryan Kalil

     

    Projected Starter

    Ryan Kalil

     

    Offseason Additions

    None.  

     

    Roster cuts

    None as of 8/8/12.

     

    Projected final roster (1)

    Ryan Kalil 

     

    Early Analysis

    Three-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kalil has no competition for his starting spot on the offensive line.

    Ryan Kalil is among the top three centers in the NFL, along with the Pittsburgh Steelers' Maurkice Pouncey and the New York Jets' Nick Mangold.

    Kalil is an elite blocker who sets the offensive line's pass protection and run-blocking schemes for each play.

    Perhaps most importantly, Ryan Kalil is a team leader with enough confidence in his team to take out a full-page ad in the Charlotte Observer predicting a Panthers victory in Super Bowl XLVII.

    The Panthers are unlikely to keep two centers on the active roster heading into the season

Defensive Ends

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    Defensive Ends on Roster

    Frank Alexander, Antwan Applewhite, Greg Hardy, Charles Johnson, Thomas Keiser, Eric Norwood, Ryan Van Bergen 

     

    Projected Starters

    Greg Hardy, Charles Johnson 

     

    Offseason Additions

    Frank Johnson was selected in the fourth round (No. 103 overall) of the 2012 NFL draft out of Oklahoma.

     

    Roster Cuts

    None as of 8/8/12. 

     

    Projected Final Roster (6)

    Frank Alexander, Antwan Applewhite, Greg Hardy, Charles Johnson, Thomas Keiser, Eric Norwood

     

    Early Analysis

    Charles Johnson was the Panthers' sack leader in 2010 and 2011 and the highest-paid player in the NFL last season, according to ESPN: The Magazine's "Money Issue."

    Greg Hardy only had 4.0 sacks as the Panthers' other starting defensive end in 2011, and he needs to show that he is serious about football and increase his productivity in 2012.

    The Panthers drafted Frank Alexander out of Oklahoma in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft, and he will be counted on to add to the pass rush.

    Antwan Applewhite and Eric Norwood will both benefit from Carolina's increased use of the 3-4 defense.

    Finally, the Panthers found a diamond in the rough last season when they promoted Thomas Keiser, an undrafted rookie out of Stanford, to the active roster midway through the season. Keiser is a high-motor player who could play his way into the starting lineup before the end of the season.

Defensive Tackles

15 of 21

    Defensive Tackles on Roster

    Nate Chandler (R), Ron Edwards, Sione Fua, Frank Kearse, Terrell McClain, Andre Neblett, Ogemdi Nwagbuo 

     

    Projected Starters

    Ron Edwards, Frank Kearse 

     

    Offseason Additions

    Nate Chandler signed as an undrafted rookie free agent from UCLA on May 11.

     

    Roster Cuts: (list all DTs cut since trainingcamp started here)

    None as of 8/8/12.

     

    Projected Final Roster (6)

    Ron Edwards, Sione Fua, Frank Kearse, Terrell McClain, Andre Neblett, Ogemdi Nwagbuo 

     

    Early Analysis

    Carolina's defensive line was a weak spot for the Panthers in 2011, but they will be much improved in 2012.

    Ron Edwards missed the 2011 season with a biceps injury, but the veteran tackle will be counted on to solidify and shore up Carolina’s interior defensive line this season.

    Frank Kearse came on strong late in the 2011 season and helped strengthen the Panthers’ run defense. Kearse could be a starter in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Sione Fua started as a rookie in 2011 until a Week 12 season-ending injury against the Indianapolis Colts.

    Terrell McClain started alonside Fua in 2011, but he was pushed around by NFL lineman last season. McClain should see action as part of a defensive front rotation, but will likely not start in 2012.

    Andre Neblett played well as a starter late in the season alongside Frank Kearse once Fua and McClain were lost to injury. Neblett could be a starter this season, but he was suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the season after testing positive for PEDs.

    Ogemdi Nwagbuo played for Ron Rivera with the San Diego Chargers before joining the Panthers in Week 6 last season. He provides additional depth along the front four.

Outside Linebackers

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    Outside Linebackers on Roster

    James Anderson, Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly, David Nixon, Kenny Onatolu, Jordan Senn, Jason Williams, Kion Wilson 

     

    Projected Starters

    James Anderson, Luke Kuechly

     

    Offseason Additions 

    Luke Kuechly was the Panthers' first-round draft choice (No. 9 overall) out of Boston College in the 2012 NFL draft after winning the Butkus Award and Bronco Nagurski Award as the nation's top collegiate linebacker.

    David Nixon signed as a free agent on July 27 after being waived by the St. Louis Rams on March 12.

    Kenny Onatolu signed as a free agent on March 22, and he is expected to make his biggest impact this season on special teams.

     

    Roster Cuts

    None as of 8/8/12.

     

    Projected Final Roster (5)

    James Anderson, Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly, Kenny Onatolu, Jordan Senn

     

    Early Analysis

    James Anderson ranked sixth in the NFL in tackles with a career-high 145 total stops in 2011. He will start at the Sam linebacker position in Carolina's base 4-3 defense, though the Panthers will incorporate a four-linebacker defensive scheme often throughout the season.

    Thomas Davis will be the first linebacker off the bench, and he will be active when the Panthers play a 3-4 defense. Davis is attempting to become the first NFL player to successfully return to competition after tearing the same ACL three times in his career.

    Luke Kuechly, the ninth overall selection in the 2012 NFL draft, is a tackling machine who will not be kept off the field.  He is currently taking reps at the Will linebacker position and could also see time as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.

    Kenny Onatulu was brought in mostly for his abilities on special teams, but the Panthers will rotate him into the defense as a situational player or to spell one of his teammates.

    Jordan Senn is an undersized NFL linebacker who plays with a ton of passion.

    A leader on special teams, Senn is a sure tackler and a solid backup linebacker who averaged double-digit tackles in the last month of the season a year ago. 

Middle Linebackers

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    Middle Linebackers on Roster 

    Jon Beason, Luke Kuechly

     

    Projected Starter

    Jon Beason

     

    Offseason Additions

    None. 

     

    Roster Cuts

    None as of 8/8/12.

     

    Projected Final Roster (2)

    Jon Beason, Luke Kuechly

     

    Early Analysis

    Jon Beason is the captain of the Panthers defense, and he will return to his starting middle linebacker position after tearing his Achilles tendon in Week 1 of the 2011 season against the Arizona Cardinals.

    Kuechly will start at weakside linebacker this season, but he was an All-American middle linebacker the past two seasons at Boston College, and he could see action in the middle this season, too.

    More likely, though, is that Beason and Kuechly will line up side-by-side as inside linebackers when the Panthers line up in a 3-4 defense, which Ron Rivera plans to do more often this season.

    The Panthers' inside linebacker combo could be reminiscent of the Chicago Bears' 1-2 inside punch of Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher.

Cornerbacks

18 of 21

    Cornerbacks on Roster

    Darius Butler, Chris Gamble, Brandon Hogan, Captain Munnerlyn, Nate Ness, Josh Norman (R), R.J. Stanford, Josh Thomas 

     

    Projected Starters

    Chris Gamble, Captain Munnerlyn 

     

    Offseason additions

    Nate Ness signed as a free agent on August 2 after the Panthers terminated OT Jeff Otah's contract.

    Josh Norman (R) was selected in the fifth round (103rd overall) of the 2012 NFL draft out of Coastal Carolina.

     

    Roster Cuts

    None as of 8/8/12. 

     

    Projected Final Roster (5)

    Darius Butler, Chris Gamble, Brandon Hogan, Captain Munnerlyn, Josh Norman  

     

    Early Analysis

    Chris Gamble had a Pro Bowl-type season in 2011 when he ranked as the fourth-toughest cornerback to complete a pass against in the NFL, allowing just a 45.0-percent completion rate.

    Across the field, Munnerlyn allowed an NFL-high 73.8 percent completion percentage when his man was targeted in 2011.

    Munnerlyn is in a battle for his starting position with Brandon Hogan and Josh Norman. He will see plenty of action in nickel and dime packages if he loses his spot on the outside. The Captain is a special teams stalwart.

    Brandon Hogan was the Panthers' fourth-round draft pick in 2011 despite suffering a season-ending ACL injury at West Virginia. Hogan spent most of last season on the PUP list, but he is an aggressive cornerback who will have a chance to battle Josh Norman for starting spot.

    Norman is a big, physical cornerback drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft out of Coastal Carolina.

    Darius Butler will compete with Munnerlyn for the nickel cornerback position.

Safeties

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    Safeties on Roster

    D.J. Campbell (R), Charles Godfrey, Sherrod Martin, Haruki Nakamura, Jonathan Nelson, Jordan Pugh, Reggie Smith

     

    Projected Starters

    Charles Godfrey, Haruki Nakamura 

     

    Offseason Additions 

    D.J. Campbell was the Panthers' final selection in the seventh round (No. 216 overall) of the 2012 NFL draft from California.

    Reggie Smith signed as an unrestricted free agent on April 4.

     

    Roster Cuts

    None as of 8/8/12. 

     

    Projected Final Roster (4)

    Charles Godfrey, Haruki Nakamura, Jordan Pugh, Reggie Smith 

     

    Early Analysis

    Big-hitting strong safety Charles Godfrey was second on the team with 84 tackles in 2011; however, his aggressive style led to an inconsistent season.

    Godfrey was 14th in the NFL with 11 broken tackles allowed last season.

    Sherrod Martin had three interceptions in 2011, including a game-sealing pick on the road in Week 12 against the Indianapolis Colts, but burned on too many deep balls last season.

    Martin was an even more inconsistent tackler than Godfrey in 2011, giving up 12 broken tackles last season.

    Former Baltimore Raven safety Haruki Nakamura will challenge for Martin's starting free safety position, though he was initially acquired to help out on special teams.

    Carolina also acquired San Francisco 49ers backup safety Reggie Smith to beef up competition and depth in the Panthers secondary.

    Jordan Pugh has shown flashes of talent in his first two seasons with the Panthers, and his primary contributions will be on special teams.


Kicking Specialists

20 of 21

    News Updates

    8/8/12: Coach Rivera plans to use both kickers in this weekend's preseason contest against the Houston Texans, but in an effort to keep Mare and Medlock on their toes, neither will know whose turn it is to kick until Rivera lets them know just before they have to run out onto the field.

     

    Kicking Specialists on Roster

    Kickers: Olindo Mare, Justin Medlock

    Punters: Nick Harris, Brad Nortman  

     

    Projected Starters

    Olindo Mare, Brad Nortman

     

    Offseason Additions

    Nick Harris signed as a free agent on May 7 after he was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars on April 28.

    Justin Medlock signed as a free agent on March 6 after playing in the Canadian Football League from 2009-2011.

    Brad Nortman was drafted by the Panthers in the sixth round (No. 207 overall) of the 2012 NFL draft out of Wisconsin.

     

    Roster Cuts

    None as of 8/8/12. 

     

    Projected Final Roster (2)

    Olindo Mare (K), Brad Nortman (P) 

     

    Early Analysis

    Despite missing a couple of key kicks in 2011, Mare led the NFL in touch backs last season, but he will have to beat out Justin Medlock to be the Panthers' kicker again in 2012.

    Justin Medlock played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2011 and for the Toronto Argonauts the previous two seasons.

    Brad Nortman was the first punter ever drafted by the Carolina Panthers when he was taken in the sixth round of the NFL draft.

    Coach Rivera liked what he saw from the rookie punter in the Panthers' first rookie mini-camp when Nortman routinely punted the ball 60 to 70 yards and had a hang time between 4.8 and 5.2 seconds.

    Nortman will have to beat out 12-year veteran Nick Harris to make the final roster.

    Expect the Panthers to have their kicking competitions before the third game of the preseason.

Return Specialists

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    Returners on Roster

    Joe Adams (R), Armanti Edwards, Kealoha Pilares 

     

    Projected Starters

    Joe Adams (PR), Kealoha Pilares (KR) 

     

    Offseason Additions

    Joe Adams was drafted in the fourth-round (No. 104 overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Arkansas. 

     

    Roster Cuts

    None as of 8/8/12. 

     

    Projected Final Roster (2)

    Joe Adams, Kealoha Pilares 

     

    Early Analysis

    While Joe Adams was in the process of leading the NCAA with four punt returns for touchdowns in 2011, Armanti Edwards suffered through one of the worst seasons as an NFL punt returner in recent NFL history.

    Adams instantly became the Panthers' starting punt returner the minute he signed with the team.

    Kealoha Pilares was one of the few bright spots on Carolina's special teams in 2011.

    His 101-yard kickoff return against the Detroit Lions was the first scoring kickoff return for the Panthers in eight seasons.

     

    Jimmy Grappone is a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Carolina Panthers for Bleacher Report since 2008.

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