Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY

Predicting Carolina Panthers' Depth Chart Prior to Training Camp

The Carolina Panthers open training camp on Thursday as they try to repeat as NFC Champions and earn another trip to the Super Bowl. This is a talented, deep roster and the organization will have a tough time cutting the roster down to 53 players. Brandon Croce tries to predict exactly what that roster may look like at the start of the season prior to training camp.

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 Donald Hawkins
Left Guard Andrew Norwell Chris Scott
Center Ryan Kalil Gino Gradkowski
Right Guard Trai Turner Chris Scott
Right Tackle Mike Remmers Daryl Williams

Notes

  • There won't be much change for the starting offense for the Carolina Panthers other than the return of Kelvin Benjamin. The team was able to bring back every player from the highest scoring offense in 2015 except for veteran Jerricho Cotchery.
  • The wide receiver position is going to be incredibly competitive during camp and if the team only keeps five wide receivers, I expect it to come down to Brenton BersinKevin NorwoodStephen Hill, and Damiere Byrd for the final spot. Right now the veteran Bersin gets the nod due to his strong hands.
  • Mike Shula and the offensive coaching staff will be able to get creative this season with all the weapons they have. Right now I believe Devin Funchess would line up as the slot wide receiver. The size he brings to the position would be an excellent advantage for this offense and it also allows Ted Ginn Jr. to line up on the outside, where he excelled last year.
  • I also believe that David Yankey has a good chance to make the final roster for this team because of his versatility. He played both offensive guard and offensive tackle, specifically left tackle, while at Stanford. If there was an injury on the offensive line, this type of versatility will help the coaching staff find the right starting combination.

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 Jeremy Cash
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 Leonard Johnson Zack Sanchez
Strong Safety Kurt Coleman Dean Marlowe
Free Safety Tre Boston Colin Jones

Notes

  • The Panthers have incredible talent and depth at defensive tackle and will try to keep all five players at the position. I believe this is possible if they feel comfortable sliding Butler out to defensive end in certain defensive packages. If they do decide to go with five defensive ends, Kyle Love would probably be the one to lose his spot on the roster.
  • A.J. Klein can line up at every linebacker position and this helps when trying to cut down to the 53-man roster. The veteran will most likely rotate with Shaq Thompson when everyone is healthy but if there is an injury, like last year with Luke Kuechly, Klein would be the one to step in.
  • The cornerback position has the biggest question marks and no one knows how this will shake out at this point. Right now, I have gone the veteran route with Robert McClainBene Benwikere and Leonard Johnson, who was recently signed by the Panthers.
  • Tre Boston is the favorite to earn the job next to Kurt Coleman but Dean Marlowe will be pushing him this training camp. Colin Jones also earned a spot on the roster because of his experience at safety, as well at nickelback.

Special Teams

Position First String Second String
Placekicker Graham Gano
Punter Mike Scifres
Long Snapper J.J. Jansen
Kickoff Return Fozzy Whittaker Ted Ginn Jr.
Punt Return Ted Ginn Jr.

Notes

  • The only question for the Panthers special teams is at the punter position as Mike Scifres and Swayze Waters will compete to replace Brad Nortman. The veteran Scifres is the favorite and barring an awful camp, or an incredible camp by Waters, he will be the starting punter for this team.

Twitter @BrandonCroce

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