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Panthers projected 53-man roster

With the windbreaker weather in Spartanburg for most of the first week, it hasn't felt much like training camp. But it's never too early for a 53-man roster projection, the first of several we'll do leading up to the Aug. 30 final cuts.

Obviously, this is a fluid exercise, subject to change based on injuries and personnel moves. In some cases, we account for possible waiver claims or late free-agent signings, a la strong safety Quintin Mikell last year.

Projected 53-man Panthers roster

OFFENSE

Quarterbacks (2): Cam Newton, Derek Anderson.

Comment: Joe Webb would be a good emergency option if Newton's ankle flares up, but he's out of practice squad eligibility.

Running backs (4): DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, Kenjon Barner

Comment: Undrafted RB Darrin Reaves has had a great start to camp.

Wide receivers (6): Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant, Kelvin Benjamin, Brenton Bersin, Tavarres King, Free agent pickup

Comment: Tiquan Underwood was brought in as a deep threat, but he and Marvin McNutt haven't caught the ball consistently.

Tight ends (4): Greg Olsen, Ed Dickson, Richie Brockel, Brandon Williams

Comment: Dickson is the second receiving threat the Panthers have been missing at TE since Jeremy Shockey left.

Offensive line (9): Byron Bell, Nate Chandler, Trai Turner, Amini Silatolu, Ryan Kalil, Garry Williams, Chris Scott, Fernando Velasco, Brian Folkerts

Comment: Not many proven backups as this group is currently configured.

DEFENSE

Defensive line (9): Greg Hardy, Charles Johnson, Star Lotulelei, Kawann Short, Dwan Edwards, Colin Cole, Kony Ealy, Mario Addison, Wes Horton

Comment: Frank Alexander, who's suspended the first four games, might be the odd man out.

Linebackers (6): Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, A.J. Klein, Chase Blackburn, Jason Williams, D.J. Smith

Comment: With Jordan Senn now with the Bears, Smith, the former Appalachian State standout, could make the team as a special teams regular.

Defensive backs (10): Antoine Cason, Melvin White, Bene' Benwikere, Charles Godfrey, Josh Thomas, Josh Norman, Roman Harper, Thomas DeCoud, Colin Jones, Robert Lester

Comment: Benwikere bolts up the depth chart with each interception and pass breakup he makes during camp; there have been many.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Specialists (3): Graham Gano, Brad Nortman, J.J. Jansen

Comment: This group had a big year in 2013.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

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