After making their final roster cuts, the Carolina Panthers now have a 53-man roster to prepare for the first game against the Seattle Seahawks. The Panthers had a very good preseason with a 3-1 record. The defense really stood out and forced many turnovers that led to points. However, veteran cornerback Drayton Florence was released from the Panthers and that could prove to be a costly move.
Since the Panthers released their star cornerback Chris Gamble in March, they opted to sign another veteran Drayton Florence to a one-year $1 million contract. Bringing in the 11-year-old veteran seemed to be a good addition to the defense to play along side Captain Munnerlyn. Apparently Florence’s performance in the preseason wasn’t enough to keep him on the roster, and was released this past Saturday. He recorded eight tackles and one interception, which he returned 71 yards for a touchdown.
The player who made the biggest splash in the preseason for the defense was second-year cornerback Josh Norman. He recorded 12 total tackles and four interceptions, and returned one for a touchdown. His excellent performance earned him a starting spot, knocking Florence out of the picture.
The Panthers cornerbacks are very young and some are still developing their skills. Although Norman displayed his excellent skills, the Panthers still lack a little depth and experience at the position. Florence would have been a good veteran to have for one year to help on and off the field. He didn’t have a stand out performance but he wasn’t out played by any of the other players, with the exception of Norman. With a very difficult season ahead of them, the Panthers will need all the help they can get and will rely heavily on the veterans to keep players focused and playing to the best of their abilities. Releasing the 11-year veteran could be a decision that may haunt them later on in the season.