<
>

Carolina Panthers' projected roster

Examining the Carolina Panthers' roster:

Quarterbacks (3)

Webb was signed to simulate the things Newton did while the franchise quarterback recovered from offseason ankle surgery. General manager Dave Gettleman has a philosophy of keeping only two quarterbacks that he brought from the Giants, but coach Ron Rivera says keeping three quarterbacks to take some of the load off Newton in practice might be an option.

Running backs (4)

The top three are a given and Barner is the leading candidate to return kicks in addition to his running back duties. Darrin Reaves has had his moments in camp, but it will become a numbers game for him. The team had hoped rookie Tyler Gaffney would be in this mix, but he suffered a season-ending injury, was released with the hope to be picked up and placed on IR only to have New England claim him.

Receivers (5)

While the Panthers love the speed of Tiquan Underwood, he has a tendency to drop passes. He might have to make the team as a return specialist first. King has looked good in practice recently, but so has Tony Clemmons and Kealoha Pilares at times. Marvin McNutt was supposed to figure into this, but he has struggled. Philly Brown could sneak into the picture as a return specialist.

Tight ends (5)

Normally I would say four players here, but the Panthers plan to run a lot of two-tight-end sets and Brockel also doubles as a fullback. Williams is the wild card. He's shown flashes and if he continues to impress in training camp he could be almost like an extra wide receiver.

Offensive linemen (9)

The key here is flexibility. Williams and Chandler can play tackle or guard. Turner can play guard and backup center. While the Panthers may like to keep a 10th player here, using that spot for a fifth tight end makes more sense.

Defensive line (9)

DE Frank Alexander will be suspended for the first four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy, but he should return to the 53-man roster in October.

Linebackers (6)

Again, flexibility is key. Blackburn can step in and replace Kuechly if he ever had to come off the field. Many of these players will be on special teams. D.J. Smith could figure into the mix.

Cornerbacks (5)

Godfrey has struggled as he returns from an Achilles injury and moves from safety to corner. The Panthers restructured his contract to keep him on the roster and really love his leadership. If he improves, there will be some tough cuts with Josh Norman, James Dockery and Byndom Carrington. Going back to the defensive line, Carolina could keep one more here and go with nine there.

Safeties (4)

The good thing about having Godfrey at cornerback is he could move back to safety if an injury occurs here. The decision will come in whether to keep fourth-round pick Tre Boston, who has been hampered by injuries, and go with five safeties over an additional defensive lineman.

Specialists (3)

These positions are set barring an injury.