Meet your 2005 Panthers

Cutting down to 53 is never easy for an NFL team. There are always guys they wish they could keep, and guys that go to another team and make it in the league. The Panthers admitted at least one mistake on Saturday, deciding to cut third round pick Atiyyah Ellison. Here is the roster as it stands now:

QB – Jake Delhomme, Chris Weinke, Stefan LeFors
The Panthers cut bait, deciding to release Rod Rutherford a week earlier than they had originally planned, but the writing was on the wall for Rod when the Panthers drafted LeFors in the 4th round. He may end up on the practice squad.

RB – Stephen Davis, Deshaun Foster, Nick Goings, Jamal Robertson, Rod Smart
IR - Eric Shelton
The Panthers decided that keeping both Robertson and Smart was in their best interest, and placed Eric Shelton on IR with a broken foot. It's not all bad news for Shelton, who will be able to attend meetings but not practice with the team until next season. The Panthers get to keep two of their top kick returners in Robertson and Smart, plus keep depth at the running back position.

FB – Brad Hoover
Cut – Casey Cramer
Cramer has a lot of potential, but the numbers game was not in his favor. Cutting Cramer means that Goings and Mangum are the backups in case Hoover goes down. If Cramer clears waivers, he will probably be signed to the practice squad.

TE – Kris Mangum, Mike Seidman, Michael Gaines
Cut – Dan Curley
Gaines has been an enigma for the better part of a year. He shows flashes of talent then follows it up with terrible mental mistakes and inconsistent play. Seidman has another year to prove he belongs in the NFL, and Mangum can play TE and H-Back in Dan Henning's offense.

WR – Steve Smith, Keary Colbert, Rod Gardner, Ricky Proehl, Drew Carter, Karl Hankton
Cut – Efrem Hill, Hugo Lira, Aaron Boone
The Panthers kept Drew Carter and Karl Hankton, but had to cut Efrem Hill, who looked decent in limited time as both a punt returner and WR. If he clears waivers, Hill is a candidate to make the practice squad.

OL – T – Jordan Gross, Travelle Wharton, Dave Kadela, Todd Fordham; G – Mike Wahle, Tutan Reyes, Evan Mathis; C – Jeff Mitchell, Geoff Hangartner
Cut – T – Ben Johnson, John Doty ; G – Tupe Peko, Joe Berger;
IR - T - Matt Hill
The situation pretty much settled itself. Hangartner and Mathis have experience playing other positions, and have loads of potential, unlike most of the back-up linemen that have come through Carolina in the last few years. Peko has a lot of potential, but was injured most of training camp, allowing Mathis to shine. The Panthers like Berger, and will try to sign him to the practice squad if he clears waivers.

P – Jason Baker
Cut – Tom Rouen
The Panthers decided to go with youth, selecting to keep Baker over Rouen. Baker can kick-off, which could help keep John Kasay fresh.

K – John Kasay
No camp battle for Kasay this year. His kickoffs have been ok, but they kept Baker to help on kickoffs to make sure Kasay's leg is fresh when they need it.

DL – E – Julius Peppers, Mike Rucker, Al Wallace, Jovan Haye, Kemp Rasmussen; T – Kris Jenkins, Brentson Buckner, Kindal Moorehead, Jordan Carstens
Cut – E – Isaac Hilton ; T – Charles Hill, Eddie Freeman, Lorenzo Alexander, Atiyyah Ellison
In a surprise move, the Panthers cut third round draft pick Atiyyah Ellison and kept Jordan Carstens, an undrafted rookie who was signed off the practice squad last October. One surprise is the team keeping Jovan Haye, the 6th round pick out of Vanderbilt. Kemp Rasmussen is a valuable special teams player and has grown into an average defensive end as well.

LB – Dan Morgan, Will Witherspoon, Chris Draft, Brandon Short, Jason Kyle, Vinny Ciurciu, Adam Seward
Cut – Bryan Knight, Sean Tufts
IR - Justin Smith
The Panthers opted to keep seven linebackers, fortifying the special teams and providing depth at the same time. Jason Kyle, let's be honest, is not a linebacker in the NFL, but he's listed as a linebacker by the team. Draft and Circiu provide versatile backups that can play both middle and outside linebacker, and Seward is their 5th round pick that they are extremely high on. Thomas Davis is playing safety now, but could move to linebacker if needed.

CB – Ken Lucas, Chris Gamble, Ricky Manning, Dante Wesley
Cut – Eddie Jackson, Marcus Floyd, Will Hampton
The Panthers decided to keep only 4 corners. Wesley has been an absolute beast on special teams during the preseason, and had been a bright spot for the second team defense. Jackson, Floyd and Hampton are all players with potential.

S – Thomas Davis, Mike Minter, Marlon McCree, Idrees Bashir
Emanuel has had a decent camp, but the fact that the team has settled Davis in at SS didn't't bode well for the rookie. McCree has had a good preseason and Bashir is an experienced former starter. The Panthers probably will and try to sign Emanuel to the practice squad.

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