The rules said the Carolina Panthers had to cut to 53 players. They didn't stop there.

Ready to pluck players off the waiver wire to fill a glaring need at defensive tackle, the Panthers reduced their roster to 51 players on Saturday. The moves included putting third-round pick Corvey Irvin on injured reserve and waiving fellow defensive tackle Marlon Favorite.

"We just decided that we were going to have two spots there and look to fill them," general manager Marty Hurney said.

Hurney revealed Irvin tore the medial collateral ligament in his knee in Thursday's preseason finale against Pittsburgh. He was expected to provide depth at a position where the Panthers have few options.

Favorite, an undrafted rookie, had seen some time as a starter after Maake Kemoeatu ruptured his Achilles' tendon on the first day of training camp. The Panthers have also used Nick Hayden there and acquired Louis Leonard from Cleveland on Tuesday.

Starter Damione Lewis is the only other defensive tackle on the current roster. Hurney wouldn't identify players he's seeking, but said he and the coaching staff were planning to scour the waiver wire late Saturday.

"If there are any claims we have until noon (Sunday) to put them in," Hurney said.

Carolina could also use one of its open roster spots on a punt returner. Rookie Larry Beavers, one of three Panthers to fumble punts Thursday, was waived, leaving Kenny Moore and Captain Munnerlyn on the depth chart.

Mark Jones, Carolina's return man last season, is available after being released by Tennessee.

The Panthers again kept kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd, who had an NFL-high 30 touchbacks last season. Carolina also kept an extra fullback, fourth-round pick Tony Fiammetta, who didn't come to close to taking starter Brad Hoover's job.

Only four receivers are on the roster, while defensive end Hilee Taylor made the team despite a quiet preseason.

Jeremy Leman, one of the surprising stars of the preseason, was cut along with Mortty Ivy, giving Carolina just six linebackers.

Other players let go were quarterback Hunter Cantwell; running backs DeCori Birmingham and Jamall Lee; receivers Jason Chery, Kevin McMahan and Marcus Monk; tight end Andrew Davie; offensive linemen Patrick Brown, Justin Geisinger, Keith Gray and Jonathan Palmer; defensive lineman George Hypolite and Casper Brinkley; linebackers Anthony Heygood and Kelvin Smith; safeties Kevin Kaesviharn, Paul Chiara and Joe Fields; and cornerback D.J. Clark.

Hurney declined to say if they would sign two veterans or younger players to fill their needs after an unimpressive, winless preseason.

"Obviously, experience would be good," Hurney said. "It just depends on who come free and how things fall."

(This version CORRECTS SUBS 13th graf to correct to Chery, sted Cherry.)