Carolina Panthers Roster Breakdown in 2020

| August 27, 2020 9:58 am PST
2020 Carolina Panthers Depth Chart

The Carolina Panthers are a team reborn come 2020. Familiar faces like Ron Rivera, Cam Newton, and Luke Kuechly — pillars of the franchise — are gone.

Whether due to firing, release, or retirement, these iconic figures that once helped Carolina reach its second-ever Super Bowl won’t be with the team in 2020.

Naturally, that gives way to a new coach, a new system, and a good amount of roster turnover.

Sports bettors have responded with negativity toward the Panthers, but could a deeper look at the Carolina Panthers’ depth charts reveal this is a team worth betting on this year?

Note: Starters are bolded

Panthers Quarterback Depth Chart

Teddy Bridgewater
Will Grier
PJ Walker

The Panthers moved on from Cam Newton and traded away Kyle Allen. They could have just punted the year with Will Grier, but the team clearly aimed higher when they signed Teddy Bridgewater away from the rival Saints.

Bridgewater may not be elite, but he displayed high-end game-management ability in five starts in 2019. If that’s his floor, the Panthers could be better than advertised going forward.

Grier didn’t look good as a rookie, but he has talent and moxie. The same goes for XFL superstar PJ Walker, who new head coach Matt Rhule looked over at Temple.

Carolina’s quarterback room isn’t elite, but it’s far from the weak link to this revamped roster.

Panthers Running Back Depth Chart

Christian McCaffrey
Reggie Bonnafon
Jordan Scarlett
Mike Davis
Rodney Smith
Alex Armah

C-Mac heads a very top-heavy rushing attack. The guy posted the rare 1,000/1,000-yard season as both a runner and receiver in 2019, and the sky’s the limit going forward.

After getting a massive contract, Christian McCaffrey could win the NFL MVP and so much more.

Carolina probably would need him to in order to be a feared team in 2020, especially since they don’t have a whole lot behind him. Reggie Bonnafon offers some explosiveness, while depth pieces like Scarlett, Davis, and Smith aren’t terrible.

Alex Armah rounds out the team’s running back depth chart as the fullback.

Panthers Wide Receiver Depth Chart 

DJ Moore
Robby Anderson
Curtis Samuel
Pharoh Cooper
Seth Roberts
DeAndrew White
Brandon Zylstra
Ishmael Hyman
Damion Jeanpiere Jr.
Omar Bayless
Keith Kirkwood
TreVontae Hights

Carolina’s passing options are underrated, as it was impossible to accurately grade them due to shaky quarterback play in 2019. Beyond that, DJ Moore morphed into a true star last season, while Curtis Samuel is an underrated secondary option.

The speedy Robby Anderson comes in as a free agent to push Samuel down the depth chart, however. In theory, that just makes this receiving corps more dynamic, as the Panthers now have options that can win at every level.

Seth Roberts rounds out a suddenly deep Panthers receiving depth chart.

Panthers Tight End Depth Chart

Ian Thomas
Chris Manhertz
Temarrick Hemingway
Colin Thompson
Giovanni Ricci
Cam Sutton

The Panthers didn’t bring back veteran tight end Greg Olsen. That tells us they love Ian Thomas, or they just wanted to save some cash. Perhaps both.

Thomas could easily be up to the task of replacing Olsen, however, as he’s a good athlete and flashed potential over his first two seasons.

This isn’t a very deep position for Carolina, however. If Thomas doesn’t pan out, the Panthers could want for production here.

Panthers Offensive Line Depth Chart

Position Starter Backup Third String Fourth String
Left Tackle Russell Okung Greg Little Tyler Marz Tyler Marz
Left Guard John Miller Branden Bowen Mike Horton Sam Tecklenburg
Center Matt Paradis Tyler Larsen Frederick Mauigoa Tyler Larsen
Right Guard Dennis Daley Michael Schofield Juwann Bushell-Beatty  
Right Tackle Taylor Moton Matt Kaskey Aaron Monteiro  

The Panthers have a plenty talented offensive line, but it flat-out didn’t get the job done in 2019.

Part of that was due to not having an experienced quarterback to go to war with for much of the year, but giving up the most sacks (tied) in football still isn’t ideal.

On paper, Russell Okung is a strong addition at left tackle, while Taylor Moton is also very solid on the right side. Carolina has a plenty serviceable interior o-line, as well, with the reliable Matt Paradis leading the way at center.

Greg Little and Tyler Larsen serve as quality depth to round out a hopefully improved unit.

Panthers Defensive Line Depth Chart

Defensive End Defensive Tackle
Kawaan Short Derrick Brown
Stephen Weatherly Woodrow Hamilton
Yetur Gross-Matos Bravvion Roy
Chris Smith  
Efe Obada  
Zach Kerr  
Myles Adams  
Austrian Robinson  
Davonte Lambert  

While the Panthers gave up a ton of sacks last year, they at least dished out a beating of their own on defense. Carolina remained stout up front, as a solid defense recorded the second-most sacks (53) in football.

Carolina did most of their damage without stud defensive lineman Kawann Short (shoulder), but that plays into their nasty depth up front. The team also has the rising Efe Obada and stole Stephen Weatherly from Minnesota.

Rookie superstar defensive tackle Derrick Brown projects as a menace up the gut, which could work wonders for a Panthers run defense that ranked 29th in 2019.

Fellow first-year phenom Yetur Gross-Matos feels like a luxury as he adds elite athleticism to an already productive front line.

Panthers Linebacker Depth Chart

OLB ILB ILB OLB
Brian Burns Shaq Thompson Tahir Whitehead Marquis Haynes
Jason Ferris Jermaine Carter Jr. Andre Smith Christian Miller
  Jordan Mack Jordan Kunaszyk Sam Franklin
  David Reese Chris Orr  

There’s no denying the hit the Panthers have to absorb at linebacker with the retirement of Luke Kuechly.

Carolina is set on the outside with pass-rushing fiend Brian Burns, and Shaq Thompson is reliable on the inside, but the jury is out on Whitehead and Haynes.

The depth isn’t elite here, as everyone will need to prove themselves.

Panthers Cornerback Depth Chart

Eli Apple
Donte Jackson
Cole Luke
Corn Elder
Stantley Thomas-Oliver
Troy Pride Jr.
Derrek Thomas
Myles Hartsfield

Carolina’s secondary has been a bit of a revolving door in recent years, but the franchise looks okay after reeling in Eli Apple in free agency. Donte Jackson is tentatively projected to start alongside Apple, assuming the team doesn’t bring back Ross Cockrell to push him.

The team did lose star cover man James Bradberry in free agency, but they look solid at the top of the depth chart. Rookie Troy Pride Jr. is an elite athlete that rounds out a very solid cornerback group.

Panthers Safety Depth Chart

Jeremy Chinn
Tre Boston
Justin Burris
Quin Blanding
TJ Green
Kenny Robinson

Carolina took a hit at safety this offseason, as they let the steady Eric Reid go. The team also lost some depth with Colin Jones exiting in free agency, as well.

The Panthers did a fantastic job of addressing this area, however, as they invested the 57th overall pick in this year’s draft on Jeremy Chinn. The hard-hitting safety projects as a versatile weapon for this defense.

Tre Boston was retained on a three-year deal to start opposite of Chinn. His coverage grade isn’t amazing, but he’s a well-rounded and reliable starter.

Justin Burris comes over from Cleveland to round out a very nice safety depth chart for Carolina.

Panthers Special Teams Depth Chart

Kicker Punter Long Snapper Holder Punter Returner Kick Returner
Joey Slye Joseph Charlton JJ Jansen Joseph Charlton DJ Moore DJ Moore

No more Graham Gano and no more Michael Palardy. In come Joey Slye and Joseph Charlton to take over the kicking duties in Carolina.

Slye has got quite the leg and is a legitimate sleeper kicker in fantasy football. Case in point – his 8 field goals from 50+ in 2019 led the NFL.

Panthers Roster Analysis

  • Grade: C+

There is a lot to like about the Panthers, which is weird to say when you consider how many big names they’re losing. They also went 5-11 last year, so there’s that.

I doubt it translates into many 2020 wins, but the Panthers stabilized their offense with the arrival of guys like Bridgewater, Anderson, and Okung. On paper, this could be a very balanced attack.

Defensively, the Panthers need to find a way to stop the run. Losing one of the best linebackers of all time is a funny way to try, but adding Derrick Brown in the middle of the defensive line should help.

The Panthers do have a ton of talent on defense, so it’s possible they ride that unit to more competitive play in 2020.

Betting on the Carolina Panthers in 2020

Carolina is probably a little bit better than anyone is giving them credit for. Teddy Bridgewater is a fine starting quarterback, C-Mac is a total boss, and this defense could be sneaky good.

The problem is this team has not been winning lately, and they operate out of a fairly loaded division. The Panthers should compete, but betting on them at a high level assumes a good amount of risk this year.

Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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