Panthers Trim Roster, Keep Youthful Theme

Just when it appeared the Carolina Panthers could not get any younger, the team made the surprising decision to keep 10 rookies on its final 53-man roster. The decision gives John Fox the chance to develop some exciting prospects, but it cost vets like Tank Tyler and Kenny Moore their jobs.

The 2010 draft class figures to be one that will shape this franchise for years to come. Nine members of the class earned spots on this year's active roster, as did undrafted rookie DT Andre Neblett.

All three drafted receivers -- Brandon LaFell, Armanti Edwards and David Gettis – made the final 53-man roster. So did Charly Martin, the second-year receiver who split his time last season between Carolina's practice squad and active roster. Martin's special-teams ability helped secure his roster spot, as he looks to offset the loss of Wallace Wright, who went on IR with a shoulder injury.

Also going on IR on Saturday were Duke Robinson (knee), C.J. Davis (head) and Aaron Francisco (hamstring). The loss of Francisco also hurts the kick coverage teams, which puts pressure on rookies Jordan Pugh and Robert McClain to step up in that area. As for Robinson and Davis going on IR, that opened the door for Tim Duckworth to make the roster after coming from New Orleans less than a week ago.

Another noteworthy battle came took place at quarterback, where rookie Tony Pike beat out Hunter Cantwell for the No. 3 position. That leaves the Panthers with a pair of rookies behind starter Matt Moore, who has only eight career starts himself.

The two players who can gripe loudest about their releases are DE Eric Moore and CB C.J. Wilson. Moore finished the preseason ranked fifth in the league with three sacks, while Wilson was one of the stars of training camp.

Here is a full list of all the players released:

What would you have changed about the roster? Discuss in the message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and also a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. You can see more of his updates by following him on Twitter.

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