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Carolina Panthers: Ron Rivera Impressed with Devin Funchess Improvement from Last Year

After offseason workouts on Tuesday, Ron Rivera talked about wide receiver Devin Funchess and how he is impressed by how much he has improved this year compared to his rookie season.

The Carolina Panthers knew the wide receiver position was going to have more talent this year with the return of Kelvin Benjamin from an ACL injury suffered during training camp last year. However, this may not be the only boost to the position group as second-year wide receiver Devin Funchess has had a strong offseason to this point, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

After workouts on Tuesday, the Panthers' head coach was asked about Funchess and he said, "He is light years ahead from where he was. He is confident. He is very comfortable in our system, he understands it. He has shown his abilities and they have really come through very nicely."

The Panthers traded up in the second round for Funchess in the 2015 NFL Draft however the former Michigan Wolverine had a slow start to his rookie year. In the first seven games for the Panthers, Funchess caught only seven passes for 90 yards and no touchdowns. He only had one game where he caught more than one pass.

However, he showed some development as the season went on and over the final 12 games of the year, including playoffs, he had 29 receptions for 456 yards and six touchdowns.

The Panthers will be looking for a player to replace Jerricho Cotchery this offseason and a player like Funchess would be a great replacement for this offense. He has great height at 6'4" and could be an excellent target for Cam Newton out of the slot and working the middle of the field. The former second round pick could be in line for a big jump in 2016.

Twitter @BrandonCroce

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