Looking at the roster there seems to be nine or so roster battles left. these are not a "who's going to start battles." These are who's going to make the 53. Here’s my take
RB: Vaughan vs Poole
With all the injuries RBs sustain we'll have to keep three. This comes down to Vaughan and Poole. By all accounts Poole is doing great while Vaughan is being his hard working self. That being said Vaughan has special teams experience and tenure. so it wouldn't surprise me if he won out.
- My prediction: Poole wins
WR: Murphy, Gettis, Edwards, Tutu
I've broken down the roster several ways and I just don't see us holding onto seven receivers. That leave these four battling it out for two spots (I think green will be headed to the practice squad). I know most people are handing Gettis a spot, but that doesn't seem to be the RR way. It's either put up or shut up, and for him to put up he has to get on the field. He doesn't add anything that the other healthy receivers can't give us. As for Edwards, I think he's about were he should be in his development, and I think he has a great upside. Unfortunately, upside doesn't get you a roster spot with this collection of players. Of the four I like Tutu the least, but I see him making it.
- My prediction: Murphy, tutu (I'm ok with any two out of these four. Murphy and Edwards would be my fav though)
TE: Hartsock vs Brockel
I think Barnidge will get the second receiving TE spot, and I see Rosario on the practice squad. That leave Hartsock vs Brockel for the blocking TE/backup FB spot. Brockel has more versatility but Hartsock is the better blocker.
- My prediction: Hartsock
G/C: Blackwell, Byers, Z Williams. Browning, Allan
we know the starters and I see Campbell, G Williams, Pollack as locks for backup spots. That leaves one backup G/C spot available in what I think will be a 9 man line. I really don't know much about this battle, and have heard positive from all of them. I think Byers and Z Williams are the most versatile.
- My prediction (for final roster purposes): Byers
UT: Neblett, Chandler
I see four DEs as definite right now. You know the first three. I'm adding Keiser because he outplayed everyone at the end of last year, seems to be a RR type player, and brings some pass rush we desperately need. I see three DTs as definite: Edwards, Fua, and McClain. After crunching the numbers I see us keeping 4 or 5 DT but probably just four. Since Edward and Fua are both NT. That means the fourth spot probably goes to an UT. Neblett and Chandler fit that bill. I see Chandler heading for the practice squad
- My prediction: Neblett
Safety: Pugh, Smith
Martin and Nakamura have been the best two safeties in camp, which leave the SS position more up in the air. I see Godfrey as keeping the starting gig. As for the backup battle, smith really hasn't doesn't anything of note so far. I don't see Nelson or Sullivan in the mix, and I think Campbell is heading for the practice squad. I had Pugh written off before training camp, but now....
- My prediction: Pugh
CB: Hogan, Stanford, Thomas, Ness
I'm calculating 5 Corner spots on the roster. I think it's possible that it ends up as low as four or as high and six, but I think five is the most likely. Gamble, Captain, and Norman seem to be locks at this point. I'm going to add butler to that mix. This leaves us with one spot for the four left. Ness's concussion is going to hurt his slim chances, but he was filling out as a RR type. I think Hogan has the best upside, but he has to get on the field. I'm almost at a loss on this one. I really hope Hogan comes through.
- My prediction: Hogan
K: Medlock vs Mare
I'm not sure who has the lead between Nortman and Harris, but I think it's Nortman. On top of that the draft pick will definitely win in case of a tie, so I'm penciling him in. Medlock and Mare has gotten really interesting however. So far it seems as if they are in a virtual tie. Sure, ever panther fan is hoping Medlock takes it, but I'm not sure who would win this one if it were tied. Will it be the veteran with a bad year, and a long track record as one of the best in the league, or the one who didn't shank a bunch of kicks for us last year? My brain is telling me Mare, but I really hope it isn't.
- My prediction: Medlock (I went back and changed this name about three times)
Final roster spot:
Assuming that we keep three QBs (we will), and that seven linebackers are being kept for certain roles (Anderson, Beason, Keek, Davis, Onatolu, Senn, Applewhite). That leaves one open position. I'm assuming that spot goes to a defensive player, but I guess it's POSSIBLE that it goes to a WR. That would leave us with the following battling it out for one spot: A. Edwards, Gettis, Norwood, Kearse, Phillips, Reggie smith, Thomas, Ness. I really have no idea where to go here. So I'm going to go with our biggest need. Pass rush. Kearse and Gettis are the last cuts.
- My prediction: Norwood (by the skin of his teeth. I didn’t think he had a chance in hell to make the roster a month ago)
That leaves my final roster as:
QB: Newton, Anderson, Clausen
RB: Williams, Stewart, Poole
WR: Smith, Lafell, Murphy, Tutu, Pilares, Adams
TE: Olsen, Barnidge, Hartsock
OT: Gross, Bell, Campbell, G Willaims
OG: Silatolu, Hangartner, Pollack,
C: Kalil, Byers
DE: Johnson, Hardy, Alexander, Keiser, Norwood
DT: Edwards, McClain, Fua, Neblett
LB: Beason, Keuchly, Anderson, Davis, Applewhite, Onatolu, Senn
FS: Martin, Nakamura
SS: Godfrey, Pugh
CB: Gamble, Norman, Munnerlyn, Butler, Hogan
K: Medlock… I mean Mare… I mean Medlock