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 /
5 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Rashaan Melvin /

Carolina Panthers go with youth at CB

Considering the Carolina Panthers will be without the services of veteran cornerback A.J. Bouye for the first two games and 2020 fourth-round pick Troy Pride Jr. for the season, it was a surprise to see them focus so much on youth within the secondary.

The decision to release Rashaan Melvin was a shock. He’d applied himself well after joining the team in free agency, so for him to not make the 53-man roster must have been a massive disappointment to the player.

This leaves the Panthers with the starting duo of Donte Jackson and No. 8 overall selection Jaycee Horn. Stantley Thomas-Oliver III and Keith Taylor Jr. are the only other registered cornerbacks until Bouye is permitted to return from suspension.

Again, this is a fluid situation and Carolina will probably strengthen in plenty of time before Week 1 against the New York Jets. However, Melvin has been around the set-up all offseason and knows the scheme, so it’s a big call to make by those in power.

Trending. 5 waiver wire targets for the Carolina Panthers after final roster cuts. light

The trio of Jackson, Horn, and Bouye should be highly productive in 2021 judging by the performances throughout camp and their brief time on the field in preseason contests. But more is needed over the first fortnight and possibly beyond if Thomas-Oliver and Taylor don’t live up to their expectations.