Jerome Miron/USA TODAY

Predicting the Carolina Panthers Depth Chart after the NFL Draft

Now that the NFL Draft is in the books, we try to predict what the Carolina Panthers 53-man roster might look like on Opening Night in Denver.

Offense

Position First String Second String Third String
Quarterback Cam Newton Derek Anderson Joe Webb
Running Back Jonathan Stewart Cameron Artis-Payne Fozzy Whittaker
Fullback Mike Tolbert
Wide Receiver Kelvin Benjamin Brenton Bersin
Wide Receiver Ted Ginn Jr. Philly Brown
Slot Wide Receiver Devin Funchess
Tight End Greg Olsen Ed Dickson Beau Sandland
Left Tackle Michael Oher Daryl Williams
Left Guard Andrew Norwell Chris Scott
Center Ryan Kalil Gino Gradkowski
Right Guard Trai Turner Chris Scott
Right Tackle Mike Remmers Daryl Williams

Notes

  • The Carolina Panthers offense is not going to look much different from 2015 with the only new additions being Gino Gradkowski and Beau Sandland, who the Panthers drafted in the seventh round Saturday. 
  • However the return of Kelvin Benjamin to the starting lineup, who missed all year due to an ACL injury, will have the biggest impact on this offense. They finished the year as the highest scoring offense last year but the lack of go-to wide receiver hurt this offense at times, including Super Bowl 50.

Defense

Position First String Second String Third String
Defensive End Kony Ealy Ryan Delaire
Defensive Tackle Kawann Short Vernon Butler Kyle Love
Defensive Tackle Star Lotulelei Paul Soliai
Defensive End Charles Johnson Mario Addison
Strongside Linebacker Shaq Thompson A.J. Klein
Middle Linebacker Luke Kuechly A.J. Klein David Mayo
Weakside Linebacker Thomas Davis A.J. Klein
Cornerback Robert McClain James Bradberry
Cornerback Bene Benwikere Daryl Worley
Nickelback Brandon Boykin Zack Sanchez Teddy Williams
Strong Safety Kurt Coleman Dean Marlowe Jeremy Cash
Free Safety Tre Boston Trenton Robinson

Notes

  • The Panthers secondary is going to look much different than it did a season ago. The only returning members include Bene Benwikere and Kurt Coleman, which means there will be plenty of battles this offseason to earn those starting jobs. Right now I have Robert McClain as the starter opposite Benwikere because he did start in the playoffs for this team. The fact that he will be competing with three rookies for the job should give him the inside track.
  • The addition of Vernon Butler makes not only the defensive tackle position deeper but the entire defensive line. Butler has the talents to play defensive end as well and the coaching staff may look to move him around to create mismatches for this defense.
  • The Panthers also signed safety Jeremy Cash after the NFL Draft as an undrafted free agent. He is a big, hard-hitting safety who addresses the hole at strong safety and could allow Coleman to move back to free safety. He has an excellent opportunity to make the 53-man roster as a rookie.

Special Teams

Position First String Second String
Placekicker Graham Gano
Punter Swayze Waters
Long Snapper J.J. Jansen
Kickoff Return Fozzy Whittaker Brandon Boykin
Punt Return Ted Ginn Jr.

Notes

  • The Panthers have two punters currently on the roster competing for the opening left by the departure of Brad Nortman. It is hard to tell at this point who would be the favorite however Swayze Waters has had more experience recently than Michael Palardy and that is why he gets the nod.

Twitter @BrandonCroce.

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