Projecting the Panthers’ depth chart following roster updates

·3 min read

This past week, the Carolina Panthers had to take care of a little housekeeping—some work that resulted in what is now their 53-man roster. And heck, they had even more tidying up to do after that—with their moves to accommodate a high-profile injury, a new kicker and the start of a practice squad.

So, now that that’s all done, how will their first official depth chart of the 2022 regular season pan out? Here are our projections.

Under center

AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman

Position

1st

Depth

QB

Baker Mayfield

PJ Walker

Mayfield, of course, will steer this ship into Week 1 against his old Cleveland Browns buddies. And as Sam Darnold and Matt Corral sit on the injured reserve, with the former out for about a month and the latter for the whole season, Walker is the de facto backup.

Backfield

AP Photo/Nell Redmond

Position

1st string

2nd string

3rd string

RB

Christian McCaffrey

D’Onta Foreman

Chuba Hubbard

FB

Giovanni Ricci

As long as McCaffrey is present, Foreman seems to be the likelier No. 2 option. His power style is a more complementary change of pace for the offense.

Pass catchers

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Position

1st string

2nd string

3rd string

4th string

WR

DJ Moore

Rashard Higgins

Laviska Shenault Jr.

Andre Roberts

WR

Robbie Anderson

Terrace Marshall Jr.

Shi Smith

TE

Tommy Tremble

Stephen Sullian

TE

Ian Thomas

Shenault could be the wildcard of the offense, let alone this group. The 2020 second-round pick, who was acquired this past Monday, may even take snaps out of the backfield—perhaps in a poor man’s version of how the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers deploy Cordarrelle Patterson and Deebo Samuel.

Offensive line

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

Position

1st string

2nd string

LT

Ikem Ekwonu

LG

Brady Christensen

Michael Jordan

C

Bradley Bozeman

Pat Elflein

RG

Austin Corbett

Cade Mays

RT

Taylor Moton

Cameron Erving

If Bozeman is indeed a go in Week 1, he should get the nod over Elflein.

As for their depth, the Panthers have made a pointed effort to fill their bench with versatile hog mollies. They have that in Elflein, Erving, Mays and—if need be—Christensen, who can swing over to the blindside.

Front seven

AP Photo/Nick Wass

Position

1st string

2nd string

3rd string

DE

Brian Burns

Marquis Haynes Sr.

DT

Derrick Brown

Daviyon Nixon

Phil Hoskins

DT

Matt Ioannidis

Bravvion Roy

Marquan McCall

DE

Yetur Gross-Matos

Amaré Barno

WLB

Shaq Thompson

Brandon Smith

MLB

Damien Wilson

Cory Littleton

SLB

Frankie Luvu

Carolina has themselves two intriguing rookies in Barno and Smith. They’ll, obviously, start out as depth—but could make their presences felt with opportunities just waiting to be seized.

Secondary

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Position

1st string

2nd string

3rd string

CB

Donte Jackson

CJ Henderson

Stantley Thomas-Oliver III

CB

Jaycee Horn

Keith Taylor Jr.

FS

Jeremy Chinn

Sean Chandler

SS

Xavier Woods

Myles Hartsfield

Sam Franklin Jr.

Even though he stands at just 5-foot-11 and 210 pounds, Hartsfield should be a big player in this secondary. He can line up from a number of spots, giving defensive coordinator Phil Snow a chess piece of sorts over the top and from the slot.

Specialists

AP Photo/Chris Carlson

Position

1st string

2nd string

K

Eddy Piñeiro

P

Johnny Hekker

LS

JJ Jansen

KR

Andre Roberts

Chuba Hubbard

PR

Andre Roberts

Shi Smith

With Zane Gonzalez done for the season, Piñeiro takes over the kicking duties.

Roberts, the most experienced return man on the team by a wide margin, could handle both kickoffs and punts.

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Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire