On Tuesday Charlotte Observer’s Joseph Person reported that the Carolina Panthers are expected to workout former Trojan wide receiver Nelson Agholor in Tampa. As Person notes, Agholor is projected to go somewhere in the late first round to second round.
The Panthers interest in Agholor is a bit surprising because of the fact that he has the physical tools of a prototypical slot wide receiver. The Panthers could use another wide receiver to compliment the additions they made in the offseason but they could use a big target on the outside more so than a player in the slot.
Last month, the team brought back Ted Ginn Jr. after a one-year stint with the Arizona Cardinals. The addition of Ginn, while not a long term answer would seemingly bring stability to the position for at least this coming season and possibly next.
If the Panthers really wanted a wide receiver early in the draft it would make more sense for them to target a big wide receiver who can play on the outside opposite of Kelvin Benjamin. They added Jarrett Boykin who could fill the role but he has not shown on a consistent basis that he can handle the responsibilities.
Meanwhile, the Trojans have not had a great track record of producing highly productive wide receivers. Since 2000, there have been seven wide receivers drafted in the first two rounds out of USC. The past two seasons the Trojans have had at least one wide receiver drafted in the top two rounds (Marqise Lee and Robert Woods). Both of these players have shown some promise and hope to break the stigma surrounding the USC Trojan wide receiver.
The other five wide receivers (Dwayne Jarrett, Steve Smith, Mike Williams, Keary Colbert, R. Jay Soward) most certainly could be labeled as busts. This group has only one season combined that produced 100+ receptions and 1,000+ receiving yards (Steve Smith, 2009).
The Panthers have drafted two of these players with Jarrett in 2007 and Colbert in 2004. Neither player was able to live up to expectations with Jarrett starting only three games over four seasons and Colbert catching only 62 passes and two touchdowns over his last three seasons with the Panthers.
It certainly isn’t fair to judge a player potential success in the NFL based on the failures of predecessors. Agholor built a solid resume playing for USC with 179 receptions, 2571 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns in three seasons there. He carried the momentum from his junior season into an impressive Scouting Combine before dislocating his finger during one of the drills.
Even with the injury, Agholor has done a good job building his draft stock the past few weeks and is NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock’s fastest riser this offseason. If the Panthers front office target Agholor as a player they hope to draft, it certainly looks like it will cost them their first round pick.