5 surprising candidates to make the Panthers 53-man roster in 2022

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Isaiah Graham-Mobley
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Isaiah Graham-Mobley /
3 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) C.J. Saunders /

C.J. Saunders – Carolina Panthers WR/KR

Finding a niche in the NFL is always a good way for fringe players to get on a team. Versatility is also something the Carolina Panthers value highly in those a little further down the depth chart.

This is the reason why C.J. Saunders is still on the Panthers. He spent most of last season on the practice squad, but the former Ohio State star was active for two games and also brought in both of his targets for 11 receiving yards.

Not exactly the biggest sample size. However, it was a foot in the door and Saunders has built on this momentum with a positive start to offseason workouts to further enhance his cause.

Saunders can help in the passing game, be utilized on running downs, and return kicks for good measure. If others are preferred, then his potential on special teams overall could be an asset for new coach Chris Tabor.

It does seem like a long shot given how deep Carolina is at receiver. D.J. Moore, Robbie Anderson, and Terrace Marshall Jr. are certainties, which leaves the likes of Saunders, Shi Smith, Rashard Higgins, and Brandon Zylstra fighting it out for other spots.

This will be yet another fascinating element to training camp. And even the slightest play could make all the difference.