Carolina Panthers Sophomore Spotlight: Devin Funchess

The Carolina Panthers are hoping for a big second season from their former second round pick, wide receiver Devin Funchess. We take a look back at Funchess' college career as well as his first season with the Panthers and what might be expected in 2016.

The Carolina Panthers traded up in the second round to select wide receiver Devin Funchess after working out a trade with the then St. Louis Rams. The Panthers received the 41st overall pick and sent their second, third and sixth round picks in the trade.

Before the Carolina Panthers

Devin Funchess started his collegiate career at the University of Michigan as a tight end before moving to wide receiver full time his junior year in 2014.

Year Receptions Receiving Yards Touchdowns
2012 15 234 5
2013 49 748 6
2014 62 733 4

*Stats courtesy of

What the Analysts Said

"Has mismatch-caliber size, but lack of vertical talent and below-average hands might negate the size to an extent. Funchess was used outside and inside at Michigan and had success from the slot. He has the feel of a hybrid player who can be a big guy at wide receiver or a mismatch nightmare as a move tight end with more weight on his rangy frame."

-Lance Zierlein,

"Funchess started his career as a "move" tight end before evolving full-time at wideout, where he projects best in the NFL. He is a high risk/high reward type of talent who boasts first-round tools and has potential to be a No. 1 1/2 wide receiver in the NFL, but due to inconsistencies his value is in the early-to-mid second round."

-Dane Brugler, CBS Sports

"Funchess is potentially a special prospect as a tight end, but his value decreases as a receiver. Funchess dropped a number of passes against Michigan State that could have gone for big plays. He showed a lack of ability to win contested catches, and that is concerning for a receiver who isn't a true speed threat."

2015 Season

Games Played Receptions Targets Receiving Yards Yards Per Reception Touchdowns
16 31 64 473 15.3 5

Funchess had a slow start to his rookie season with only seven receptions through his first seven games. The absence of Kelvin Benjamin certainly could have played a role as he didn't have the top wide receiver that defenses could turn their attention to.

The second half of the season though was much different with 24 receptions and all five touchdowns in the final nine games. This is hopefully a sign of Funchess having a bigger role in this offense in 2016.

2016 Season

The early reviews for Funchess are extremely positive as head coach Ron Rivera said this week that he is 'light years ahead' of where he was at this point last season.

There will be a big opportunity for Funchess with the release of Jerricho Cotchery in the offseason. If he can develop into that third-down target, possession wide receiver for this offense it would be a major boost.

Twitter @BrandonCroce

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