Here’s a position-by-position look at who stays, who goes when the Carolina Panthers make their final cuts on Saturday.
Webb wasn’t on my 53-man roster entering training camp, but with the Panthers putting him on all four special-teams groups, in addition to his stellar play at quarterback, he’s probably a keeper. Unless, that is, somebody offers a quality wide receiver in a trade.
Running backs (5)
Undrafted rookie Brandon Wegher had a solid preseason, but he’s still not a solid blocker. He’ll be a player the Panthers try to stuff away on the practice squad. Tolbert can play fullback, running back and catch out of the backfield. Todman is too valuable as a kickoff returner, not to mention he led the team with 72 yards rushing and four catches for 16 yards in Thursday’s preseason finale at Pittsburgh. As much as the Panthers love Whittaker, I’m not convinced he’s safe.
Wide receivers (6)
Bersin appeared to be a sure casualty before training camp, but with season-ending injuries to Kelvin Benjamin and Stephen Hill, and the release of Jarrett Boykin, he has a chance. Brown, with two catches on 12 targets in the preseason, likely will make it but he should be nervous. Mike Brown and Damiere Byrd are practice-squad candidates.
Tight ends (3)
Offensive line (9)
The sprained knee that kept Kalil out of the final two preseason game might make cutting Brian Folkerts, who didn’t play on Thursday because of a sprained ankle, seem risky. But Remmers and Scott can shift there. Remmers played well as the starter against Pittsburgh. The retirement of Jonathan Martin made the tackle situation clearer. If the Panthers go with eight, look for Chandler to be at risk.
Defensive line (9)
Love had a solid preseason, and with uncertainty around the foot injury of Lotulelei, the Panthers will have to keep one more tackle than I had here prior to camp. Frank Alexander’s season-ending Achilles injury may have saved Horton at end. It won’t save Rakim Cox despite three preseason sacks.
It came down to Klein or Jason Trusnik to be saved by being solid special-teams players. I went with Klein, although it just as easily could be Trusnik. Five typically would be the number here, but these are some of Carolina’s top special-teams players.
The decision to cut Melvin White, who started 17 games over two years, on Tuesday showed the direction this group is heading. A concussion by Norman and groin injury by Williams against Pittsburgh could force the Panthers to keep one more player here and cut another somewhere else. Webb?
Dean Marlowe was the toughest cut here. This group has gone from a weakness to a strength. The ability of Harper and Coleman to play either safety spot is a bonus.
PK Graham Gano
DS J.J. Jansen
The same as last year. Nothing was going to change unless there were injuries.