NFL Panthers

Carolina Panthers Training Camp Preview: Defensive Backs & Special Teams

Training Camp is finally here! That means this final preview needs to go up before the whistle blows this evening. Let’s just jump right in, we’re finishing it off with the defensive backs and special teamers.

Cornerbacks

Training Camp Roster: James Bradberry, Donte Jackson, Ross Cockrell, Kevon Seymour, Corn Elder, Lorenzo Doss, Javien Elliot, Josh Thornton, Quin Blanding

This group is very top heavy. James Bradberry and Donte Jackson are returning as the starters and after that everything is up in the air. The fact that they didn’t draft or sign a corner this year is pretty crazy to me. At any rate, Ross Cockrell returns to squad after missing the 2018 season due to injury. Prior to that he graded out as one of the “better” slot corners in the league so hopefully that proves to be true and we can get some stability at the corner position.

My eyes are also on Kevon Seymour. He’s entering his fourth season this year and hasn’t really performed to his own expectation. This can be a make or break camp for him. Corn Elder is also another likely candidate for the slot role. He got some burn last year but didn’t have too many good moments. This is now his third season since joining the team from Miami so he should come out with a lot to prove.

Final Roster Prediction: Bradberry, Jackson, Cockrell, Seymour, Elder

Safety

Training Camp Roster: Eric Reid, Rashaan Gaulden, Colin Jones, Cole Luke, Damian Parms, Kai Nacua, Corrion Ballard

This group might be the thinnest on the roster. Being able to retain Eric Reid was a big win for the Panthers at the start of the offseason. I had some hope that would draft a safety with a early pick and that would shore up our safety worries for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, so after Reid, there’s a lot of question marks.

Rashaan Gaulden is a interesting prospect. This will be his second season since being drafted from Tennessee. Rumors were flying last season that he was in Rivera’s dog house for reasons we don’t know of. It’s unsure if that’s true or not but I think the guy deserves a chance. He was their 3rd round pick last season so surely that must mean SOMETHING.

After Gaulden, Colin Jones is the only likely candidate for the starting spot. Which scares the hell out of me, and we need to do everything in our power to ensure that’s who isn’t stepping on field at free safety. That’s all I’ll say on that topic.

There are however some notable free agents just sitting at home waiting for a safety needy team like the Panthers to come calling. Former Kansas City Chief Superstar, Eric Berry, age and injury history is a concern but he should be at the top of that list. Also former Panther Tre Boston is still out there. He was a solid player for us and the stats say he only improved after he left. It’s a wonder why he’s still on the market. He actually lives in Charlotte. Seems like he’s just waiting on them to give him a call.

Just having a grand ole time in the stadium. Man, just put a jersey on.

Final Roster Prediction: Reid, Gaulden, Jones, Luke

Special Teamers

Training Camp Roster: Graham Gano (K), Michael Parlady (P), J.J Jansen (LS)

Yep, nothing new here. Slightly shocked not to see them bring in competition for Gano. Chandler Catanzaro who filled in for him last season while he was injured did pretty well. Part of me thinks Gano survived last season solely due to the fact that he nailed that 63 yard game winner against the Giants. He might have been ran out of town otherwise.

I do want to talk about the return game as we have some interesting options, or lack thereof. D.J Moore, Curtis Samuel, Damiere Byrd, and Kenjon Barner (for some odd reason) carried the bulk of the return game last year. Byrd and Barner are no longer on the team and I doubt they’ll want to use Moore and Samuel back there as much as they did last year since his usage on offense will be a lot larger this season.

McCaffrey could be an option, he was LETHAL as a return man in college, but again, usage issues. Terry Godwin, rookie out of Georgia could fill in here, he’ll need to have a bag of tricks to make this team and being a return man could very well be one of them. Honestly, as I look at the rest of the roster. He might be our only option. Keep an eye on that this preseason.

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