(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The Panthers will be returning 21 of 22 starters from last season's squad but will have a heap of new faces on the second team.
Cap issues as well as the team's success in 2008 were contributing factors in watching most of the Panthers' talented reserves earn free agent contracts or become cap casualties.
Most noticeable will be the lack of depth on the offensive line—a quality that saved grace for the Panthers in 2008. Rookie Duke Robinson (pictured) will lead the second team offensive line, as well as Geoff Schwartz and Mackenzy Bernadeau, a couple of seventh round picks in 2008 who saw little or no game action last year.
It is imperative that these guys grasp the concepts quickly and thoroughly so that they can step up and fill in effectively should the need arise.
The defensive second team will be welcoming a few new faces as well. Dan Connor will be at full strength behind Jon Beason at middle linebacker a year after blowing his knee out in a preseason game and missing his entire rookie campaign.
Rookie cornerback Sherrod Martin could see immediate action as the team's third cornerback after Richard Marshall was promoted to starter following the release of veteran Ken Lucas.
On the defensive line, Charles Johnson will likely at least begin the season behind Tyler Brayton at left defensive end, while rookie Corvey Irvin and Nick Hayden will back up Ma'ake Kemoeatu and Damione Lewis at the tackle positions.
It is likely that the team will move Brayton inside at most times rather than use Hayden, barring a major improvement from the youngster at camp.