The Carolina Panthers have released their first actual depth chart of the 2017 season. Until now, any released have been a mish-mash of players put together mainly by the lower staff. Now that the regular season is underway, we have our first look at how the 2017 squad is put together.
Wide receiver Devin Funchess remains a starter despite a lackluster preseason. Curtis Samuel is listed as the 5th receiver and could still be hampered by the ankle he twisted against Pittsburgh last week. Samuel could be inactive for this game. We will have a better idea once the first Carolina Panthers injury report is released later this week.
Van Roten is listed as a backup for both guard positions, but I have a sneaky suspicion that rookie tackle Taylor Moton could be used there is need be. Moton has spend time at all offensive line positions minus center this offseason.
Christian McCaffrey’s name is very unassuming here. Second string running back. I suspect, however, that he will have as many reps as anyone else on the offense. McCaffrey is likely the best slot receiver on the roster.
Interesting that Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers are both listed as left ends with Mario Addison the starter on the right. Having the elder statesmen keep each other rested on the left could prove to be a great move. Of course, we will likely see Peppers also on the right at some point.
The backup safety position still has much to be desired. I don’t think the Carolina Panthers coaching staff is quite satisfied yet with this group. Another addition sooner or later could happen.
That is about as strong as a linebacking unit as you will find in the entire NFL. Jared Norris had an excellent preseason and has developed into a legitimate NFL linebacker. I feel like the entire second string linebackers could play as a unit at times and hold the fort down nicely.
Yes, two kickers remain on the Carolina Panthers roster and likely will through Sunday. Marty Hurney has said Gano will start ( do kickers start? ) the game. This depth chart indicates he isn’t bluffing.
I am not thrilled with the idea of Christian McCaffrey returning punts. Damiere Byrd has looked pretty good in that department. Risking injury to McCaffrey on punt returns is a significant gamble with not much reward. If the Panthers go without McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel remains plagued by the injury bug, we have the 2016 offense all over again. Not good.
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