4 surprising candidates to make the Carolina Panthers 53-man roster in 2023

Derek Wright
Derek Wright / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Michael Jordan - Carolina Panthers OL

Many fans thought they'd seen the last of Michael Jordan in a Carolina Panthers uniform. But as his namesake gets set to sell the Charlotte Hornets and leave town, the veteran offensive lineman will once again try to force his way onto the 53-man roster after signing a one-year deal following the 2023 NFL Draft.

Jordan is a gap-run-blocking force that is a formidable obstacle to overcome in space. While his pass-blocking hasn't been up to the required standard since joining the Panthers, there is enough to go off to ensure he competes hard for a place on the depth chart entering Week 1 at the Atlanta Falcons.

Carolina improved their backup offensive line options throughout the offseason, especially on the interior. Justin McCray was a decent pickup in free agency and hopes are high that fourth-rounder Chandler Zavala can make a smooth transition and help much sooner than the development project he was tabbed as during pre-draft evaluations.

Cam Erving is another that can assist thanks to his leadership and position versatility. Therefore, it's absolutely imperative that Jordan hits the ground running and maximizes every opportunity when working with the first or second units.

Chances like this will arrive as Austin Corbett works his way back from a torn ACL. The likes of Cade Mays and Zavala might be preferred initially, but the former Ohio State star has risen from obscurity before and could do so again.