November 28, 2020

The 7 biggest surprises about the Panthers’ initial 2020 roster

The Carolina Panthers revealed their initial 53-man roster for the 2020 season yesterday after Saturday’s cut-downs. As is the case every year, it looks a little bit different than we were anticipating.

Here are the seven biggest surprises about this group.

No room for DE Efe Obada

Efe Obada
Efe Obada

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday morning, Obada tweeted about how grateful he was to make the 53-man roster again. Hours later he was waived, giving Carolina fans another low-key shock at the end of an offseason that seemed to be defined by popular players suddenly and unceremoniously being shown the door. Obada hasn’t played much. However, he has flashed enough to warrant a spot, even winning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors once. It’s possible the Panthers are hoping Obada he clears waivers so they can add him to their practice squad, which still has a few open spots.

Only three defensive tackles

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

One reason Obada’s release came as a surprise was the fact that he’d been taking reps on the interior during training camp. Carolina is going to need their edge defenders to slide inside often, because at the moment they only have three true defensive tackles on the roster. That’s a dramatic change coming only one year after having the deepest and most expensive interior rotation in the NFL. While it’s clear that certain positions like tight end and defensive tackle will be less important than in the past under coach Matt Rhule, Kawann ShortDerrick Brown and Bravvion Roy need to stay healthy or this is going to be a problem.

Another fifth-round pick cut

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers used their fifth-round draft pick this year on former West Virginia and XFL safety Kenny Robinson. He was cut along with Obada and Matt Kaskey yesterday, marking another Day 3 miss for general manager Marty Hurney. While it’s true that Robinson didn’t impress beat reporters at training camp, to cut him this soon is a serious indictment. On the bright side, Robinson getting cut means the front office is feeling confident in the current rotation of safeties, which they should be.

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