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Comparing the Panthers’ Roster, a Year Later

[vc_row_inner no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”]The Panthers’ roster isn’t yet good enough to make you confident Carolina can win the Super Bowl, or even beat the Seahawks. But it is better than it was last year at this time, and for a team that’s had limited money to spend while also planning for the future, the improvement is important to see.To get a sense of now compared to last spring, let’s break it down by position and look at April 1, 2014 vs. April 1, 2015. Each group will get a BETTER, WORSE or PUSH grade, plus some notes when warranted.

QUARTERBACKS
4/1/14
Cam Newton
Derek Anderson
Joe Webb
Matt Blanchard
4/1/15
Cam Newton
Derek Anderson
Joe Webb

PUSH

RUNNING BACKS
4/1/14
Kenjon Barner
Jonathan Stewart
Mike Tolbert
DeAngelo Williams
Michael Zordich

4/1/15
Darrin Reaves
Jonathan Stewart
Jordan Todman
Mike Tolbert
Fozzy Whittaker

WORSE

Whittaker, Todman, and Reaves have some potential, but Williams was the best back in franchise history whose body hadn’t yet failed him in the upcoming season.

RECEIVERS
4/1/14
Brenton Bersin
Toney Clemons
Jerricho Cotchery
Tavarres King
Marvin McNutt
Kealoha Pilares
DeAndre Presley
Tiquan Underwood
R.J. Webb
4/1/15
Kelvin Benjamin
Brenton Bersin
Jarrett Boykin
Corey (Philly) Brown
Mike Brown
Jerricho Cotchery
Ted Ginn
Stephen Hill
Marcus Lucas
De’Andre Presley

BETTER

Jason Avant isn’t on last year’s list since he didn’t sign until April 8. But this isn’t close. Even though there’s a glaring hole for a No. 2 wideout, the depth of this unit is especially improved.

TIGHT ENDS
4/1/14
Richie Brockel
D.C. Jefferson
Mike McNeill
Greg Olsen
Brandon Williams

4/1/15
Richie Brockel
Ed Dickson
Kevin Greene
Greg Olsen
Brandon Williams

BETTER

This comparison is a bit out of whack since Dickson signed on April 10. But now that he’s been in the Panthers’ offense for a season, this group is a bit better.

OFFENSIVE TACKLES
4/1/14
Byron Bell
Nate Chandler
Kevin Hughes
Oscar Johnson
Andrew McDonald
Garry Williams

4/1/15
Nate Chandler
David Foucault
Jonathan Martin
Michael Oher
Mike Remmers
Martin Wallace

BETTER

There’s no guarantee Oher and/or Martin will revitalize their careers in Carolina, but they have a better chance to work out than last year’s bunch did.

CENTERS/GUARDS
4/1/14
Travis Bond
Derek Dennis
Brian Folkerts
Michael Jasper
Ryan Kalil
Edmund Kugbila
Phillipkeith Manley
Chris Scott
Amini Silatolu

4/1/15
Brian Folkerts
Tyronne Green
Ryan Kalil
Edmund Kugbila
Andrew Norwell
Chris Scott
Amini Silatolu
Trai Turner

BETTER

Turner and Norwell could help form the interior of the line for years.

DEFENSIVE ENDS
4/1/14
Mario Addison
Frank Alexander
Greg Hardy
Wes Horton
Charles Johnson
Craig Roh

4/1/15
Mario AddisonFrank AlexanderKony EalyWes HortonCharles Johnson

WORSE

Ealy’s addition is nice, but even though Hardy played just one game in 2014, there’s a huge hole where he used to be.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES
4/1/14
Dwan Edwards
Linden Gaydosh
Star Lotulelei
Kawann Short
Casey Walker

4/1/15
Colin Cole
Dwan Edwards
Star Lotulelei
Kyle Love
Micanor Regis
Kawann Short

BETTER

Like the tight ends, this one’s a bit unfair because Cole signed on April 9. But Love also gives this year’s group that much more depth.

LINEBACKERS
4/1/14
Chase Blackburn
Thomas Davis
Ben Jacobs
A.J. Klein
Luke Kuechly
D.J. Smith
Jason Williams
4/1/15
Thomas Davis
Adarius Glanton
Ben Jacobs
A.J. Klein
Luke Kuechly
Kevin Reddick
Jason Trusnik

PUSH

Trusnik is kind of the new Blackburn, and while Glanton showed flashes late last year, there’s not a marked difference here.

CORNERBACKS
4/1/14
Antoine Cason
James Dockery
DeQuan Menzie
Josh Norman
Josh Thomas
Melvin White
4/1/15
Bené Benwikere
Carrington Byndom
Josh Norman
Melvin White
Teddy Williams
Lou Young

BETTER

This unit still needs help, but Norman’s development and Benwikere’s talent equal two solid pieces for 2015.

SAFETIES
4/1/14
Charles Godfrey
Roman Harper
Colin Jones
Robert Lester
Anderson Russell
4/1/15
Tre Boston
Kurt Coleman
Roman Harper
Colin Jones
Robert Lester
Kimario McFadden

BETTER

Godfrey hadn’t yet been moved to cornerback and Thomas DeCoud signed April 11. This year’s group isn’t great, but it’s improved.

SPECIAL TEAMS
4/1/14
K Graham Gano
P Brad Nortman
LS J.J. Jansen
KR Kealoha Pilares
PR Kenjon Barner
4/1/15
K Graham Gano
P Brad Nortman
LS J.J. Jansen
KR Fozzy Whittaker/Jordan Todman
PR Ted Ginn

BETTER

Going off the official roster, which does not designate kickoff and punt returners, this was originally a push. But a commenter made a good point about including those positions, so this group overall – which includes guys like Teddy Williams and Jason Trusnik – has been upgraded.

Final tally: BETTER – 8, WORSE – 2, PUSH – 2

The Panthers still have a number of needs, most notably a No. 2 running back and receiver, a to-be-groomed offensive tackle, a defensive end and a cornerback. But the roster has gotten better since last spring, and that doesn’t include nine draft picks, undrafted free agents and potentially more veteran free agent additions in the coming months.

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30 thoughts on “Comparing the Panthers’ Roster, a Year Later”

  1. LOL, while this is wonderful, I think a big “better” would be our change in special teams coordinator. That’s like an all-caps better. We have the pieces for a great team, we don’t however have the coaching staff for that.

  2. LOL, while this is wonderful, I think a big “better” would be our change in special teams coordinator. That’s like an all-caps better. We have the pieces for a great team, we don’t however have the coaching staff for that.

  3. Why is our kicker, punter, and long snapper the only ones mentioned in Special Teams? How do you not consider adding Ginn and Todman an upgrade for special teams? Not to mention the guys we added to help defend kick/punt return. I would say the Panthers have done more this off season to improve Special Teams than any other group.

  4. Why is our kicker, punter, and long snapper the only ones mentioned in Special Teams? How do you not consider adding Ginn and Todman an upgrade for special teams? Not to mention the guys we added to help defend kick/punt return. I would say the Panthers have done more this off season to improve Special Teams than any other group.

    1. I would say it’s more like you know you need a knee replacement but can only afford an ACL surgery. In other words, we are doing the best with can with the current cap situation.

    1. I would say it’s more like you know you need a knee replacement but can only afford an ACL surgery. In other words, we are doing the best with can with the current cap situation.

  5. I’m wondering why people aren’t considering Whittaker a viable RB2. Now, I admit I wouldn’t want to start him every week if (when) Stewart gets hurt, but I think the guy could thrive with 8-10 touches a game.

    1. Because Fozzy is an unproven #3 RB (only 5’10, 205), with 1 very poor season, and 1 OK season (with the Panthers). So, which player shows up in 2015?

      2012 – Un-drafted and didn’t play (probably the result of a very serious knee injury as a senior at Texas)
      2013 – 29 carries, 2.8 YPC, and 21 catches, for 7.4 YPR, with the Browns
      2014 – 32 carries, 4.5 YPC, and 5 catches, for 12.0 YPR, with the Panthers

      Fozzy has yet to demonstrate any ability to be a featured RB, or even a part of a 2 RB rotation, he’s just a #3 RB, who can’t handle a full work load.

      1. I would agree with Panthers/Truth. Fozzy was a good player at Texas before getting hurt, so we know he has potential. But, the verdict is still out. He’s going to hang around on the roster at least until final cuts, but he’s not someone to have confidence in just yet so if an upgrade can be found, you have to entertain that upgrade.

  6. I’m wondering why people aren’t considering Whittaker a viable RB2. Now, I admit I wouldn’t want to start him every week if (when) Stewart gets hurt, but I think the guy could thrive with 8-10 touches a game.

    1. Because Fozzy is an unproven #3 RB (only 5’10, 205), with 1 very poor season, and 1 OK season (with the Panthers). So, which player shows up in 2015?

      2012 – Un-drafted and didn’t play (probably the result of a very serious knee injury as a senior at Texas)
      2013 – 29 carries, 2.8 YPC, and 21 catches, for 7.4 YPR, with the Browns
      2014 – 32 carries, 4.5 YPC, and 5 catches, for 12.0 YPR, with the Panthers

      Fozzy has yet to demonstrate any ability to be a featured RB, or even a part of a 2 RB rotation, he’s just a #3 RB, who can’t handle a full work load.

      1. I would agree with Panthers/Truth. Fozzy was a good player at Texas before getting hurt, so we know he has potential. But, the verdict is still out. He’s going to hang around on the roster at least until final cuts, but he’s not someone to have confidence in just yet so if an upgrade can be found, you have to entertain that upgrade.

  7. Thanks for the article. IMO the RB position is a PUSH, but overall this is really accurate. Deangelo has been in a steady decline since like 2011.

  8. Thanks for the article. IMO the RB position is a PUSH, but overall this is really accurate. Deangelo has been in a steady decline since like 2011.

  9. I like what the Panthers have done this FA. They have set up a good competition for their positions of need and can now draft the BPA in the draft.

  10. I like what the Panthers have done this FA. They have set up a good competition for their positions of need and can now draft the BPA in the draft.

  11. Pass rushers and running backs are our formula for success. We have to chase Ryan and Brees and keep the ball out of their hands to stay atop NFC South.

  12. Pass rushers and running backs are our formula for success. We have to chase Ryan and Brees and keep the ball out of their hands to stay atop NFC South.

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