5 big shocks from the Carolina Panthers initial 53-man roster

(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) P.J. Walker
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) P.J. Walker /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /

Carolina Panthers left themselves thin at RB

The Carolina Panthers had an abundance of running back talent during training camp. However, this was trimmed substantially to get themselves down to the magic number of 53.

As it stands right now, the Panthers have three registered backs on their roster.

Christian McCaffrey remains the focal point and will be aiming for better fortune in 2021 after appearing in just three games last season. He’ll be backed up by fourth-round selection Chuba Hubbard, who got plenty of work in the preseason and handled the responsibility extremely well.

Rounding off the trio is Trenton Cannon, who worked primarily with the wide receivers during training camp and has the versatility of carrying, catching, and even contributing in the return game if Carolina chooses.

This is something that’s been important to the primary decision-makers throughout the recruitment process. Finding the right balance is key, but someone like Rodney Smith, Reggie Bonnafon, or undrafted free-agent Spencer Brown could be stashed on the practice squad providing they don’t get a better offer from elsewhere.

McCaffrey’s availability is all that matters, here.

If he returns at an elite level and features in all 17 games, then the Panthers can expect to make some serious improvements on offense moving forward.