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Five players to watch: Panthers at Steelers

WR Kevin Norwood: Who wouldn't want to watch the new guy, especially when the new guy is a wide receiver? It sounds like the Panthers sure liked what they saw from Norwood leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft, when the Alabama product was selected in the fourth round by the Seahawks. He's now set to make his debut in a Panthers uniform after Carolina traded for him. It's a challenging set of circumstances for Norwood, who has practiced just two days with his new team, but a good performance under those conditions could be a good omen.

WR Devin Funchess: The rookie wide receiver made an impact in the Panthers' preseason opener, but his availability has been impacted by a hamstring injury since. It's not clear whether he'll play in this one, but head coach Ron Rivera said this week that he hasn't seen enough of Funchess yet. If Funchess does play, the hope is he'll take some sort of step toward showing that he'll contribute in a significant way sooner rather than later.

S Colin Jones: Jones hadn't practiced for two weeks until an encouraging report regarding his groin injury allowed him to return to practice Tuesday. The fear that Jones' injury could be serious shed light on the importance of his role – not just as an option at the nickel position but also on every special teams unit. There's no telling how much – if at all – Jones will play against the Steelers, but it's good news that he's back on track to play Week 1.

CB T.J. Heath: The Panthers' decision to part with cornerback Melvin White increases the chances that Heath can work his way onto the 53-man roster – a scenario that seemed highly unlikely when he was signed early in training camp to replace retiring corner Chris Houston. Could Heath, who has shown a knack for getting his hands on the ball, be this year's Fozzy Whittaker? There's also increased hope for undrafted rookie safety Dean Marlowe given Carolina's decision to waive Robert Lester.

TE Scott Simonson: All four of the Panthers' tight ends from last season are still on the roster, but Simonson has been undeterred. The second-year player who saw a little action with the Oakland Raiders last season has simply done what has been asked of him and has looked good doing it. Through three preseason games, Simonson has five catches – tied for third on the team – for 40 yards.

A player-by-player look at the 2015 Carolina Panthers active roster.

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