5 lively outsiders to make the Carolina Panthers roster in 2021

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Clay Johnston
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Clay Johnston /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Trenton Cannon /

Which players are emerging as lively outsiders to make the Carolina Panthers 53-man roster during the 2021 season?

The time is almost upon the Carolina Panthers to finalize their initial 53-man roster for the 2021 season. Those in power waived five players as part of the second round of cuts on Tuesday, leaving them with 80 for the remaining few days that also includes the team’s preseason finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Judging by how active new general manager Scott Fitterer has been during the recruitment process, it wouldn’t be the biggest shock in the world to see a couple more players arrive in Carolina off the wire before it’s all said and done.

It’s been a fascinating preparation period where the Panthers are concerned. A return to Wofford College in Spartanburg for training camp was a big help, with plenty of fringe pieces leaving their mark in the pursuit of an unlikely place on the team.

With this in mind, here are five lively outsiders who’ve given themselves a fighting chance of making the Panthers roster in 2021.

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) C.J. Saunders /

C.J. Saunders – Carolina Panthers WR

To say the production of C.J. Saunders has been surprising would be an understatement. Little was known or hoped regarding the former Ohio State wide receiver before training camp, but the player deserves a tremendous amount of credit for catching the eye and proving he can assist the Panthers in a variety of ways.

It appears unlikely that Saunders will generate many targets when push comes to shove. Carolina’s wideout room is loaded with playmakers, after all.

However, his potential in the return game and energetic approach to special teams play might see Saunders in with a long shot of finding his name on the 53 next week.