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
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.
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.
Specialists (3): Graham Gano, Brad Nortman, J.J. Jansen
Comment: This group had a big year in 2013.
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