Rakim Cox joined the Carolina Panthers last offseason after a strong performance at the NFL Veteran Combine. He continued to play well into training camp and preseason and in four preseason games had nine tackles and two sacks.
The former Villanova pass rusher wasn't able to earn a roster spot last year but was one of the final players cut and was on the team's practice squad all last year. He now has a full year with the organization and a better understanding of the defensive scheme, which should give him an edge.
The defensive end position is fairly set at the top of the depth chart with Charles Johnson, Kony Ealy and Mario Addison. However, the final one or two defensive ends on this roster is up for grabs. If Cox can improve and build off last training camp, he should be able to make the final roster.
Dean Marlowe, who was called up from the practice squad towards the end of last year, has a fairly strong grasp on one of the spots on the 53-man roster. However, the reason he made this list is because he has the potential to be the starting safety when the Panthers take on the Denver Broncos.
Entering training camp, Tre Boston is expected to be the starting safety next to Kurt Coleman but for the team to get Boston in the lineup it would mean Coleman would have to move from free safety to strong safety. The coaching staff may be hesitant to do that considering Coleman had a career year with seven interceptions.
Meanwhile, Marlowe's natural position is at strong safety and if he plays well this would allow the coaching staff to keep Coleman at free safety. This should give him a little bit of advantage and if he has a strong camp, Ron Rivera may need to re-evaluate the position.
Kevin Norwood has been forgotten a bit after the Panthers traded for him at the end of training camp last year. The former Alabama wide receiver saw limited action, with only one target all season, but could be ready to make an impact in 2016.
The Panthers will be looking for a player to step into the role that Jerricho Cotchery has played well the past few seasons, as a possession wide receiver. Norwood at 6'2" could be a great possesion wide receiver and target for Cam Newton out of the slot.
Norwood will have plenty of competition for this spot with the Panthers having 14 wide receivers currently on the roster. However, if he is able to show strong hands and produce in preseason games, he could move up the depth chart rather quickly.
David Yankey had a decorated collegiate career at Stanford, being named an All-American twice, once at guard and the other at left tackle. This versatility can certainly help Yankey and could be a strong addition to this offensive line.
The NFL career for Yankey has not gone as smoothly after being drafted in the fifth round by the Minnesota Vikings in 2014. He was on their roster as a rookie but was inactive for 15 of those games and then spent the next season on their practice squad before joining the Panthers in January on a futures contract.
The time in Carolina can be a fresh start for the young offensive linemen and help re-start his career. If Yankey can prove during training camp that he can contribute at tackle and guard, this will be a tremendous boost to his chances to make the 53-man roster for the first time in his career.