There is one Carolina Panthers preseason game to go before their Week 1 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons to kick off the 2023 NFL season arrives. In that time, the team will have to cut down the current squad to make the 53-man roster for the upcoming season. There are several deep positions groups on the Panthers roster, which means that there will be some surprising names, including running back Spencer Brown, who won’t make the team.
RB Spencer Brown
Third-year pro Spencer Brown has been one of the highlights of the Panthers' preseason. He had eight carries for 34 yards with three catches for four yards against the New York Jets and 10 carries for 26 yards with one catch for seven yards against the New York Giants.
While starting RBs Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard deal with nagging injuries, Brown has been the bell cow during the Panthers' preseason, and that gave him a chance to make the roster after spending the last two seasons mostly on the practice squad.
What ends up hurting Brown is that Sanders and Hubbard should be ready for the Panthers' Week 1 tilt, and Raheem Blackshear can return kicks, which makes him more valuable to the team overall.
Not keeping Brown means that Carolina will go without a big back this season, and the rest of the runners are more finesse than power. That seems like something Frank Reich is willing to live with, though.
DT Raequan Williams
With the change from Matt Rhule and Steve Wilks to Frank Reich — and more specifically defensive coordinators Al Holcomb and Phil Snow to former Denver Broncos DC Ejiro Evero — the Panthers are switching from a base 4-3 to a 3-4 defense.
This means that there are fewer spots on the Panthers' roster this season for interior defensive linemen.
In the second Panthers preseason game, Williams played a lot at nose tackle, making some excellent plays against the run and even picking up a sack from the middle of the defensive line. This effort could get him on the roster, but with only five DL slots, it will be an uphill battle.
Henry Anderson, Derrick Brown, and Shy Tuttle are the likely starters, with DeShawn Williams coming over from the Broncos with Evero. That leaves Raequan Williams and Nick Thurman battling it out for the last spot.
The good news for Raequan is that Carolina shockingly cut presumed starter Marquan McCall because he wasn’t the best scheme fit. That could be a hint that Raequan Williams actually has a chance now ahead of the Panthers' Week 1 game.
CB Stantley Thomas-Oliver III
NFL rosters change fast, and while it looked like fourth-year cornerback Stantley Thomas-Oliver III was a lock to make the Panthers roster again this season, the team signed veteran Troy Hill on Monday, and that may be bad news for Thomas-Oliver.
Jaycee Horn, CJ Henderson, Jeremy Chinn, Hill, Donte Jackson, and Keith Taylor Jr. look like the six favorites to make the Panthers' Week 1 roster right now, and safety Eric Rowe has played some corner this preseason and in the past, so he is a versatile piece in the secondary.
Thomas-Oliver is a solid player, but he’s also landed on the injured reserve in each of the last two seasons. Hill gives the team more depth than they had before, and that will mean someone at the end of the roster will have to go.
Donte Jackson and Keith Taylor Jr. are the other two players near the end of the depth chart, but Jackson is a good player as long as he comes back healthy from his Achilles injury, and Taylor has been excellent in camp this season. So, Thomas-Oliver is the most likely cut.