5 surprising candidates to make the Panthers 53-man roster in 2021

Dean Jones
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Spencer Brown
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Spencer Brown /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brady Christensen and David Moore /

Which Carolina Panthers players could emerge as surprising candidates to make the 53-man roster in 2021?

Training camp is going to have a much more familiar feel to it this summer. The Carolina Panthers are returning to the stifling heat of Wofford College in Spartanburg after a year away due to COVID-19 restrictions, which will also have fans in attendance to further enhance the atmosphere of the occasion.

It’s a great spectacle, obviously. However, there is a lot of work to do for the Panthers if they want to make some significant strides in 2021.

This is a roster that is clearly loaded with young talent. Putting it all together has proven difficult over a consistent period of time and if lesser heralded players can make an impact, it might see them become part of Carolina plans next season and possibly beyond.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at five Panthers players who are surprising candidates to make the 53-man roster.

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) J.T. Ibe /

J.T. Ibe – Carolina Panthers S

Matt Rhule had no trouble taking college recruits from South Carolina this spring. Jaycee Horn and Shi Smith arrived during the 2021 NFL Draft and they also picked up J.T. Ibe during the undrafted free-agent frenzy to make it a trio.

Ibe spent the final two seasons of his college career with the Gamecocks, emerging as a valuable piece of their rotation. This wasn’t enough to hear his name called during the draft, but the safety has been turning heads on the field at OTAs and mandatory minicamp in pursuit of earning a roster spot.

This is an area of the field that could use someone emerging to boost depth. Ibe has a good shot judging by early efforts, but he’ll need to make whatever reps he generates in preseason games count to push his way into the coaching staff’s plans.