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Carolina Panthers UDFA Roster Paths

Jeremy Igo

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I see a lot of excitement out there over a few of the Carolina Panthers undrafted free agents, and rightfully so. Last season safety Dean Marlowe and running back Brandon Wegher was able to claim a roster spot. The year before? Philly Brown and Andrew Norwell made the regular roster. 

This year the buzz is around wide receiver Keyarris Garrett and linebacker Jeremy Cash. 

Here is what needs to happen for them to make the roster, and who their competition is from last season's Carolina Panthers roster. 

Jeremy Cash - Linebacker - Duke

Panthers Roster Competition: Ben Jacobs

The path to the NFL for Jeremy Cash is clear.

First, the training staff needs to put some weight on him, at least 8 pounds this offseason. That sounds like a lot, but with Cash's frame it is very doable in a pro regimen. Trust me, this kid is in for a healthy dose of protein and weights. 

Next, he needs to get excited about special teams, because that is now his bread and butter. The Carolina Panthers will not be calling upon the services of Jeremy Cash on defense this year, just as they hardly ever called on Ben Jacobs last year. But Jacobs, a former rookie camp invitee, cemented himself as an excellent special teams player and earned respect and a paycheck. Jeremy Cash must prove he can shed blocks and get downfield for tackles on the returner. If his performance at Duke is any indication, his natural tackling ability will be a huge asset for him to rely on. 

The Panthers' preseason was never more important for a rookie. He will have a few opportunities to make a real difference. If not, he may be practice squad bound. 

It is Cash vs Jacobs. The Panthers will not be keeping both this season. 




Keyarris Garrett - Wide Receiver - Tulsa

Panthers Roster Competition - Brenton Bersin, Kevin Norwood, Philly Brown, Stephen Hill

The Panthers will likely keep only five receivers this season. There are only three locks at the moment: Kelvin Benjamin, Ted Ginn, Devin Funchess. The rest are competing for 2 roster spots. 

Keyarris Garrett is ranked by most sources as the second most valuable UDFA pickup behind Jeremy Cash. Garrett's path to the Panthers roster has solely to do with his performance at the wide receiver position. 

That's it, that's all. 

Out work, out hustle, and out perform Brown, Bersin, Norwood, and Hill and the job is yours. The good news for Garrett is his drive. He has been very vocal since the draft about his resolve. He plans to prove without a doubt he was the best receiver in the draft, as his production numbers in college would indicate. 

As a result, a swell of support has developed from Panthers Nation. Garrett has his work cut out for him, it won't be easy. 

Making it even more difficult for Garrett is the fact that he is practice squad eligible, when some of the others are not. This gives the Panthers another option to develop him into a future star. Garrett needs to show the Panthers that he immediately can make plays week 1 against Denver. If he fails to do so, practice squad is likely. 


Carolina Panthers Rookie Camp kicks off on Friday, May 13th. I will report back with initial impressions and photos. 

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I'm hoping for 6 receivers (like we ended up carrying for most of last year), but 5 is also likely. I don't love the practice squad option for Cash or Garrett though as they'd likely get picked up pretty quickly. Especially Cash, who apparently had 20 teams after him. 

I also think with all the TE and FB players brought in we could see some competition for the third receiving TE, as well as a 4th in a potential TE/FB "Brockel" role. 

Simonson, Sandland, McGee, Bonnet, and Devon Johnson. At least 1, maybe 2, will make the cut. 

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3 hours ago, CarolinaSamurai said:

Would they chance him on the PS though? Could hold a spot like Foucault and Wegher did the past two season for fear of them getting grabbed

He didn't get drafted. If any teams were hot for him he would have been. 

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Just now, Jeremy Igo said:

He didn't get drafted. If any teams were hot for him he would have been. 

Seems like we kept Wegher on the 53 for that very reason last year when we could have used his roster spot specifically for DT depth when Dwan was out for a few games and we were only running with 3 healthy DTs and Wegher was undrafted. Less adjustment for a RB coming to a new team so that could have been a factor in Wegher's likelihood to be poached.

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15 minutes ago, Jeremy Igo said:

He didn't get drafted. If any teams were hot for him he would have been. 

A good performance in preseason can go a long way toward changing a team's opinion, though.

Edited by Mr. Scot
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Just now, The Lone Panther said:

What about Byrd? 

If we're being honest, Byrd really has no chance to make the roster. Good PS player because he can mimic the elite speed from upcoming opponents, but he's probably never going to make the 53.

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51 minutes ago, 15 said:

I think Brown's spot on the team is pretty much a lock. They really like him. It's Garrett vs. Norwood vs. Bersin vs. Hill for that last spot. 

Garrett should win that much up and then its a matter of him vs. Brown for playing time. 

I think Brown is in pretty good shape for a roster spot.  But, I think it is far from safe.  If either Hill or Garrett have a good camp, I think they get the spot.  With size anecdotes, they both have a lot more upside than Brown.

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