Carolina Panthers practice squad vacancies

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Temarrick Hemingway
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Temarrick Hemingway /

Carolina Panthers practice squad nears completion with two positions still available.

As the Saturday (8/31) deadline approached for NFL teams to narrow their 90-man rosters down to only 53 players, a plethora of transactions occurred throughout the league. The Carolina Panthers, like many other franchises, made a number of moves in order to construct what they believe to be the best possible roster in order to contend for a Lombardi Trophy in February.

For those who narrowly missed making the cut, being awarded an opportunity on the practice squad is a welcome consolation prize. While it may not be the job each individual had hoped to earn after originally joining the team, getting an opportunity to remain inside the locker room and compete each and every day is far better than being shown the door, in hopes that another NFL team comes calling.

Coach Ron Rivera has historically added players on the practice squad who can ultimately compete for a regular position and that appears to be the case this season. However, instead of quickly filling all 10 available spots, the Panthers placed eight players onto the team leaving two openings.

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Currently, there are five defensive and three offensive players assigned to the unit but either could be an option for the remaining vacancies. Expectations are at least one more offensive player, perhaps another lineman will be added to round out this lineup. If not, then a running back or even additional defensive help is also a possibility.

Following are the eight surviving members of this unit after a weekend full of various roster transactions.

S – Quin Blanding
G – Rishard Cook
DE – Bryan Cox, Jr.
TE – Temarrick Hemingway
DT – Bijhon Jackson
DB – Cole Luke
LB – Sione Teuhema
WR – DeAndrew White

Perhaps the most interesting name on this list is defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. who appeared in 18 regular season games over the past two seasons. A shift in defensive scheme from the former 4-3 to a more Rivera friendly 3-4 may have contributed to the change, in addition to an ill-timed off the field issue.

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Carolina kicks off regular season play versus the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1 on Sunday (9/8) at 1:00 PM ET.