Panthers' final 53-man roster projection includes two starting rookie corners

Second-round draft pick James Bradberry is expected to fill one of the Panthers' starting cornerback slots. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers must cut their roster to 75 by 4 p.m. ET Tuesday (Aug. 30) and to 53 by 4 p.m. ET Saturday (Sept. 3). Here’s a final 53-man roster projection.

Quarterbacks (3): Cam Newton, Derek Anderson, Joe Webb.

Comment: Why keep a third quarterback when Newton has missed only two starts in five seasons and Anderson is a reliable backup? Simple. Webb can play quarterback, wide receiver and special teams.

Running backs (3): Jonathan Stewart, Fozzy Whittaker, Cameron Artis-Payne.

Comment: This position hasn't changed from last year, except that Artis-Payne appears ready to step up if something happens to Stewart.

Fullback (1): Mike Tolbert

Comment: The Panthers had high hopes for undrafted rookie Devon Johnson, nicknamed "Rockhead", but a back injury ended his preseason prematurely.

Wide receivers (6): Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, Ted Ginn Jr., Corey Brown, Brenton Bersin, Damiere Byrd.

Comment: When wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl said in May that Byrd was ready to make an impact, he meant it. He'll beat out veterans Stephen Hill, who was released, and Kevin Norwood because he can contribute as a return specialist and receiver.

Tight ends (4): Greg Olsen, Ed Dickson, Scott Simonson, Beau Sandland

Comment: The final tight end spot will come down to Marcus Lucas and Sandland, a seventh-round pick. You could pick either of the two. I almost went with Lucas because he's made more plays in the last week, but ultimately teams don't like to admit they missed on a draft pick this quickly.

Offensive line (9): Michael Oher, Ryan Kalil, Mike Remmers, Trai Turner, Andrew Norwell, Daryl Williams, Gino Gradkowski, Chris Scott, Donald Hawkins.

Comment: Scott has missed the last week with an injury, so he's a concern and could be replaced with a free agent that gets released from another team.

Defensive line (9): Charles Johnson, Kony Ealy, Kawann Short, Star Lotulelei, Vernon Butler, Paul Soliai, Mario Addison, Kyle Love, Wes Horton.

Comment: You got the feeling the Panthers really wanted end Ryan Delaire to be a part of this rotation, but he simply didn't make plays in the three preseason games.

Linebackers (6): Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Shaq Thompson, A.J. Klein, Ben Jacobs, David Mayo.

Comment: Mayo had a strong camp to make this list. The tough cut will be Jeremy Cash, who likely will be signed to the practice squad. He has potential and worked some with the first units on special teams in the last preseason game, so you know they're looking at him hard.

Defensive backs (9): Tre Boston, Kurt Coleman, Bene Benwikere, James Bradberry, Daryl Worley, Zack Sanchez, Colin Jones, Robert McClain and Dean Marlowe.

Comment: Yes, all three rookie draft picks made the roster. Two (Bradberry and Worley) should start on opening day. Safety Marlowe’s status remains in a flux because of a lingering hamstring injury. His spot still could be filled by a free agent over the next week.

Specialists (3): PK Graham Gano, P Andy Lee, DS J.J. Jansen

Comment: The Panthers solidified the punter position by trading a 2018 fourth-round pick and punter Kasey Redfern to the Browns in exchange for Lee, a three-time Pro Bowler, and a 2017 seventh-round pick.