NFL Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers: 5 Irreplaceable Players During the 2013 NFL Season

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5 Irreplaceable Players For the Carolina Panthers During the 2013 NFL Season

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While the Carolina Panthers have little -- if any -- depth at most positions due to salary cap troubles, they nearly make up for it with absurd amounts of top-end talent. Seriously, this team has an amazing list of all-stars that just about any team in the NFL would easily clear a roster spot to acquire -- and I'm talking about starters, not fringe roster players.

It's for this very reason that you can't count the Panthers out this season. One surprise breakout at the right position or maybe some depth signings in the secondary, and this team could keep up with the rest of their division. That's not to say they'd win the NFC South, but they could certainly make life harder on whichever team does. And if you happen to think that's a stretch, just look at how close some of the Panthers' losses within their division were last season. If you guessed that I was alluding to their Week 4 30-28 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, well played.

But back to the matter at hand: The Irreplaceable. There is no shortage for the Panthers, which makes it all the more painful when injuries take their toll on this roster annually. As this is a team that can go only as far as this offense -- led by Cam Newton -- can take it, you'll find this list is comprised mostly of offensive players. There's one eyebrow raiser in this list as well, but you're just going to have to bare with me on this one and take my word for it. What can I say, I know me some football. Enjoy.

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5. Captain Munnerlyn

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So, about that aforementioned questionable selection, here it is. While you may be at a loss at my selection of Captain Munnerlyn as the fifth-most irreplaceable Panther, believe me when I say that enough can't be made of his value to this team's defense.

For starters, he is now the unquestioned leader of this secondary -- a role that was assumed following the Panthers' release of Chris Gamble. Secondly, he's the only cornerback on the Panthers' roster who is a capable starter. If the Panthers lose Munnerlyn, they have to start Drayton Florence. That's not a good thing.

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4. Charles Johnson

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Charles Johnson is a one-man wrecking crew. Sure, he has Greg Hardy wreaking havoc on the other side of the line and Star Lotulelei being added into the fold, but I have no doubt he'd be equally effective without either of them. And that is what makes Johnson so irreplaceable. The Panthers play in the same division as the high-flying New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, so getting to the quarterback is kind of important. It's also what Johnson does best.

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3. Ryan Kalil

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Never mind his Super Bowl predictions last season and the fallout that ensued. Ryan Kalil is a great leader and the anchor of this offensive line. Worse than the fallout from his Super Bowl predictions was the offensive line play following his placement on the IR. If he can stay healthy this season, look for Kalil to play a huge role in resurrecting the Panthers' ground game.

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2. Steve Smith

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Heading into his 13th season, standing at a meager 5-foot-9, Steve Smith is still the only real threat the Panthers have in their receiving corps. If the Panthers were to lose Smith, their offense would come to a screeching halt. Unless you happen to be one of maybe eight people who think that Ted Ginn Jr. can become a threat in the receiving game...

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1. Cam Newton

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With quarterback being the most important position in all of sports, it seems only suiting that Cam Newton rounds out the list of the most irreplaceable players on the Panthers roster. Without Newton, the Panthers are at best a three-win team. There's no just no replacing Newton; at least not with anyone currently on this roster.