The Carolina Panthers have over 15 percent of their roster dedicated to the wide receiver position with 14 players currently on the 90-man roster. The team didn't lose many players from the position, releasing only Jerricho Cotchery, but will be getting back Kelvin Benjamin. The group Cam Newton had last year helped him set career numbers in touchdowns and earn the league MVP awards.
So, why did the front office decide to add as many wide receivers as they have?
One possible theory is that the additional wide receivers aren't necessarily to help improve the offense but rather help determine the depth chart at the cornerback position.
The Panthers only have one cornerback returning who played more than 10 games last year for this defense and that is Bene Benwikere. However, the third-year cornerback after playing nickel as well as outside will have a new role for the upcoming season as the team's number one cornerback.
Benwikere is going to have tremendous responsibility in 2016, as he will most likely draw the assignment of the opposing team's top wide receiver. After him is veteran Robert McClain, who started for this team during their playoff run last year after injuries to Benwikere and Charles Tillman.
The front office focused on this position during the NFL Draft and used three out of their five draft picks on the position selecting James Bradberry, Daryl Worley and Zack Sanchez. There are plenty of question marks at this position and the coming months will hopefully be able to answer them.
This is why it would make sense for the Panthers to add as many wide receivers as they have. They are able to give all these players different looks and styles from wide receivers. They have big pass catchers in Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, LaRon Byrd and Stephen Hill. This group will help determine which cornerbacks have the physicality to face these big bodies on the outside.
They also have speed at the position with players like Ted Ginn Jr., Philly Brown and Damiere Byrd which will help to find the players who can keep up with faster, shiftier wide receivers, both in the slot and on the outside. There are possession wide receivers like Brenton Bersin and Kevin Norwood to give these inexperienced cornerbacks even more looks.
This wide receiver group should give the coaching staff plenty of film on all the team's defensive backs to find out which combination makes the most sense for this defense when they step on the field that Thursday night in Denver.