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Carolina Panthers: Can Damiere Byrd Make 53-Man Roster in 2016?

The wide receiver position is expected to look much different in 2016 with the return of Kelvin Benjamin. However, one player had a strong performance this past weekend and could make a push this offseason for one of the spots on the 53-man roster.

The Carolina Panthers will have plenty of decisions to make at the wide receiver position this offseason and one player who could push for one of those final spots on the depth chart is speedy wide receiver Damiere Byrd. The team signed him as an undrafted free agent last year and after a strong preseason, he was signed to the team's practice squad.

This is the season though Byrd could make the jump to the 53-man roster and he impressed Ron Rivera this past weekend at the team's rookie minicamp. According to the team's site, Rivera said at the end of the minicamp about Byrd:

"Probably about eight pounds. He’ll love the fact that you guys think he looks bigger. He’s got a lot of confidence right now and has done a nice job working hard for us during the workout and condoning phase. We got a chance to watch him Tuesday – the first day we’re allowed to come out and watch our players – and I thought he did a nice job there and a nice job today. One thing that was real interesting too, was his leadership which was really neat to see. Very rarely do you see a wide receiver step up like that."

Byrd has incredible speed, running the 40-yard dash in 4.23 seconds at the South Carolina Pro Day, that was on full display last year. In four preseason games, Byrd finished with six receptions, 67 receiving yards and one touchdown but did have two fumbles in the final game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The top part of the depth chart at wide receiver for the Panthers is pretty well set with some combination of Kelvin BenjaminDevin FunchessTed Ginn Jr. and Philly Brown. However that fifth, and sixth if the team decides to carry six wide receivers, is certainly up for grabs. Byrd is sure to be in competition for one of those spots with players like Brenton BersinKevin NorwoodStephen Hill and undrafted free agent signing Keyarris Garrett.

Twitter @BrandonCroce

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