Predicting the Carolina Panthers' 1st Wave of Roster Cuts

Tyler HornerCorrespondent IIAugust 4, 2014

Predicting the Carolina Panthers' 1st Wave of Roster Cuts

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    Defensive tackle Casey Walker
    Defensive tackle Casey WalkerChuck Burton/Associated Press

    On August 26, the Panthers will have to reduce their roster from 90 to 75 players. 

    Trimming the roster down is never easy, as management has to tell each player individually that he is out of a job, but it's even tougher on the players, who've just endured a grueling offseason schedule and have little to show for it. 

    The players who are cut on the first roster reduction date are typically not brought onto the team's practice squad and have to look to another city for a job or potentially even change leagues. 

    The following players are the likely 15 who will be in that situation come August 26. 

Skill Positions

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    Michael Zordich
    Michael ZordichChuck Burton/Associated Press
    • Michael Zordich, Fullback
    • Toney Clemons, Receiver
    • Marvin McNutt, Receiver
    • De'Andre Presley, Receiver

    Zordich will be cut because the team simply has no use for another fullback on the roster beyond Mike Tolbert and Richie Brockel. 

    The cuts at the receiver position are more interesting, and these will be the most recognizable names you'll see during the first round of cuts. 

    Clemons, McNutt and Presley will all be cut because of the sheer volume of receivers on the team's roster right now. All three are athletic and have potential to one day make an NFL team, but the players ahead of them on the roster have simply shown more consistency in camp. 

    Eliminating dropped passes is a huge sticking point for the Panthers going forward, and McNutt has had issues with holding onto the ball in his time with the team. 

    Likewise, the team is attempting to assemble a roster of tougher, less fragile players, and it doesn't help Presley's case that he's been riding the bike throughout camp and not on the field actively fighting for his spot. 

Offensive Linemen

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    Hughes while with the Rams
    Hughes while with the RamsTom Gannam/Associated Press
    • Derek Dennis, Guard
    • Kevin Hughes, Tackle
    • Oscar Johnson, Tackle

    Dennis has already bounced around between several teams in his one-year career, and there's a reason he hasn't stuck anywhere. He needs a lot of work in the technical side of the game, and at this point, his talent level isn't high enough for the team to continue investing its time and money in his future. 

    Johnson spent some time on the Titans' practice squad, but it is Hughes who's the only one of the three to see actual NFL game action in his career. In 2011, Hughes played for St. Louis in three games.

    However, he won't make the Panthers because he doesn't have the size that general manager Dave Gettleman likes in his linemen and he lacks the lateral quickness to be a good pulling guard at the NFL level. 

Defensive Linemen

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    Casey Walker
    Casey WalkerChuck Burton/Associated Press
    • Linden Gaydosh, Defensive Tackle
    • Micanor Regis, Defensive Tackle
    • Casey Walker, Defensive Tackle

    It made some noise when the team brought in Gaydosh last offseason to compete in the team's rookie camp, but he was on injured reserve all season after injuring his back during training camp. Now he's missing precious reps because of a severe ankle sprain suffered last week

    Both Regis and Walker are unrefined run-stuffers who simply don't have the athleticism or technique to make the Panthers' final roster right now. Both are just in their second season in the league, however, so they are sure to get another shot down the road. 

Linebackers

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    Adarius Glanton (left)
    Adarius Glanton (left)Chuck Burton/Associated Press
    • Denicos Allen, Outside Linebacker
    • Adarius Glanton, Outside Linebacker
    • Anthony Morales, Middle Linebacker

    Allen was never signed to play linebacker for the team, but instead was intended to be a special teams player. However, the team already has several more experienced special teamers at the position, and Allen simply doesn't have the athleticism or size to overtake them during camp. 

    Glanton and Morales are both rookies who were also signed with special teams in mind. However, both are also undersized and lack the killer linebacker instincts to really make an impression during the preseason. 

Secondary

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    Anderson Russell in the 2013 preseason
    Anderson Russell in the 2013 preseasonBob Leverone/Associated Press
    • Tom Nelson, Free Safety
    • Anderson Russell, Strong Safety

    Both Nelson and Russell have NFL experience—Nelson with Philadelphia and Cincinnati and Russell with Carolina, Miami and Washington—but the Panthers are likely to keep no more than four safeties on the roster, and that makes these two long shots for the final roster. 

    If a safety ahead of them on the depth chart is injured during the preseason, they could stick around a bit longer, but in that case, the team would likely sign a free-agent replacement.