Carolina Panthers 75 to 53: Poole, Ajirotutu Among Early Cuts

Knox Bardeen@knoxbardeenNFC South Lead WriterAugust 31, 2012

photo courtesy of the Associated Press
photo courtesy of the Associated Press

Running back Tauren Poole was one of four rookies waived by the Carolina Panthers Friday prior to the NFL’s 9 p.m. ET deadline to reach the 53-man roster limit. But, Poole’s release—shocking as it may be—wasn’t the biggest surprise as the team told 10 players they were no longer members of the franchise.

Wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu was among the first wave of Panthers’ casualties as well, and the third-year receiver had been pushing hard in training camp for a spot.

Carolina doesn’t have the deepest of depth charts at the wide receiver position. After Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell, questions arise. Louis Murphy is in the best spot to grab the third spot on the roster, but after that, Ajirotutu along with Armanti Edwards, Kealoha Pilares and Joe Adams, all had legitimate shots—and Ajirotutu might have been the closest to pushing Murphy.

Jared Green was the only other wide receiver waived in the first announcement from the team’s website. Pilares, Adams and Edwards are still alive, but cuts are still to be made. The Panthers still need to move 12 players off the roster—either through release or to an injured list.


In other Panthers’ news regarding the cut from 75 to 53:

Cornerbacks Darius Butler and R.J. Stanford were waived. As were linebackers David Nixon and Kion Wilson, defensive tackle Ogemdi Nwagbuo, running back Tauren Poole, offensive tackle Matt Reynolds and defensive end Ryan Van Bergen.

Poole played in two preseason games and carried the ball 11 times for 56 yards and scored a touchdown. He also caught four passes.

Poole seems to be the victim of a very crowded backfield. Carolina already boasts DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and fullback Mike Tolbert—not to mention Cam Newton, the best rushing quarterback in the NFL.

Poole might not have done enough to make Carolina’s 53-man roster, but he should catch on with another team or might be brought back to Carolina if he can clear waivers.