4 shocking cuts from the Carolina Panthers' initial 53-man roster in 2023

There was definitely a shock or two.
Scott Fitterer
Scott Fitterer / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers cut Keith Taylor Jr.

There were plenty of questions surrounding third-year cornerback Keith Taylor Jr. heading into the offseason. The pressure was on to produce after an inconsistent campaign in 2022, which was a major step backward after flashing real promise as a rookie.

Taylor seemed to be taking on improved coaching well as the summer progressed. His performance levels improved and the former fifth-round selection looked more comfortable, especially considering he was getting plenty of first-team work with Jaycee Horn and Donte Jackson being eased back into the rotation.

All signs pointed to the Carolina Panthers giving Taylor another year to prove his worth despite the signing of Troy Hill. Instead, general manager Scott Fitterer wielded the axe to the Washington college product and Stantley Thomas-Oliver III - the 2020 seventh-rounder who was heading into the final year of his deal.

This was a damning indictment of how Fitterer perceived the draft picks made by Matt Rhule. It also indicates that further acquisitions to bolster the cornerback room are coming off the waiver wire in the very near future.

It's an extremely disappointing outcome for Taylor, who has the physical tools to get an opportunity elsewhere. If the defensive back does end up clearing waivers, then bringing him back onto the practice squad is a possibility providing the player's pride isn't hurt too much.