Carolina Panthers Wide Receivers
|Kelvin Benjamin||6-5||245||Florida State|
|Philly Brown||5-11||185||Ohio State|
|Damiere Byrd||5-9||175||South Carolina|
|LaRon Byrd||6-4||230||Miami (Fla.)|
|Avius Capers||5-9||200||Johnson C. Smith|
|Ted Ginn Jr.||5-11||185||Ohio State|
|Stephen Hill||6-4||215||Georgia Tech|
|Tobais Palmer||5-10||195||North Carolina State|
Training Camp Battles
Slot Wide Receiver
The Panthers are going to have a number of tough decisions this offseason and one of those is finding the replacement for Jerricho Cotchery, who was released after the Super Bowl. The Panthers are going to need to find a possession wide receiver, who has reliable hands and can move the chains.
The roster has three players who I consider to be in contention for that role with Devin Funchess as the favorite. The second-year wide receiver had a strong finish to his rookie season and finished with 31 receptions for 473 receiving yards and five touchdowns. However, he struggled with dropped passes last year and this is something he will need to prove is behind him for him to earn this spot.
Brenton Bersin is a player who will be entering his third season with the team and spent the first two between the practice squad and active roster. There is nothing really flashy with Bersin however he is reliable, has great hands and does a great job moving the chains. He is the prototypical possession wide receiver and could be the perfect fit.
The sleeper for this role has to be Kevin Norwood, who the team traded for before the 2015 season. However, he struggled getting onto the field and had only one target all season that unfortunately went right through his hands and was intercepted. He has the potential to play this role for this offense, the question is will he seize the opportunity.
Final Wide Receiver Spot
The fact that the Panthers have 14 players currently on the roster, it will be a heated and highly competitive training camp battle for that final spot. Right now, there are four players who should feel confident about this spot on the roster and that includes Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, Ted Ginn Jr. and Philly Brown. That final fifth, and potentially sixth, spot on the depth chart is still up for grabs.
Along with Bersin and Norwood, Stephen Hill, Damiere Byrd and Keyarris Garrett will be heavily involved in that battle for the final spot on the depth chart. Hill has been with the Panthers the past few seasons and is a former second round pick, who has tremendous potential but hasn't been able to reach it yet. He is coming off a knee injury suffered during training camp last year and the health of that knee could be a key factor in his ability to make the roster.
Damiere Byrd is an undrafted free agent, who spent last year on the Panthers' practice squad. He is a bit undersized but is incredibly fast and very elusive. However, Byrd has a similar skill set to Ginn and Brown and that could not leave a roster spot for Byrd.
Player to Watch
The one player that could take this wide receiver position from good to great is an undrafted wide receiver out of Tulsa. Keyarris Garrett has a great combination of size at 6'3" and speed, running a 4.40 40-yard dash at his Pro Day.
Prior to the NFL Draft, CBS Sports' Rob Rang wrote in Garrett's scouting report: "With a combination of height, strong hands and the speed to streak away from opponents, there were moments in 2015 in which Garrett brought back memories of a young Randy Moss. While he possesses the talent to warrant early round consideration, Garrett remains quite raw and may need a strong supporting staff and patience to maximize his potential."
If Garrett is able to have a strong offseason, adding him to the Panthers' offense will make this even tougher to stop than in 2015.