Who is the Number 2 WR?

The departure of former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad left a huge gap in the wide receiving corp. Not only was Muhammad a huge contributor last season after Steve Smith with down for the year, he also contributed in blocking and team leadership. The start of the 2005 season brings two contenders for the position of the #2 receiver on the team. Both Kerry Colbert and newly acquired wide receiver Rod Gardner offer qualities that make them a benefit for the team.

Height/Weight:

Colbert: 5'10 193 pounds
Gardner: 6'2 213 pounds
Advantage: Gardner – Gardner is a physical receiver that can more easily take the place of Moose in both blocking and one on one competitions.

Age:

Colbert: 22
Gardner: 27
Advantage: Colbert – Being younger and skilled at the WR position creates the opportunity for long term gains for the Panthers offense.

Years Pro:

Colbert: 1
Gardner: 4
Advantage: Gardner – Experience working under 4 different off. Coordinators has both its advantages and disadvantages but experience itself is priceless.

Contributions:

Colbert: Posted 754 yards and 5 TD receptions in his rookie years.
Gardner: 2997 yards over 4 seasons. Only 1 season with over 1000 yards receiving.
Advantage: PUSH – With only one year under the belt of Colbert, it really wouldn't be fair to compare him to Gardner. However, Gardner has had the opportunity to prove himself more than Colbert, which should count for something. At this stage, depending on how the Panthers want to run their offense, the advantage still has to go with the experienced receiver playing in a contract year.

Important Facts:

Colbert: The 62nd overall pick for the Carolina Panthers in 2004. Keary ahs shown flashes of brilliance but seems to lose concentration at times, letting easy grabs slip through his fingers.
Gardner: 15th overall selection by the Redskins in the 2001 NFL draft. Known as being a hot and cold receiver (had the nickname 50/50 in Washington). Can make incredible receptions but then goes quiet for the next two games.
Advantage: Push

The ideal #2 receiver for the Panthers will not only assist in taking pressure off of Steve Smith, who is the clear #1 receiver for the Panthers, but will also be responsible for filling the void left by Muhammad. The #2 receiver will have to help fill in on blocking details, be able to battle the larger secondary defenders downfield and has to be counted on to be open for the big plays as time winds down on the clock. As the Panthers are not a one-dimensional team, it is more important than ever that the #2 receiver have at the minimum 800 yards and 7 TDs this season to be considered having a good season. This is also a great opportunity for both receivers to prove to the entire NFL that they can help contribute to the success of a football team, ensuring themselves financial stability for their future.

Training camp and pre-season will be the true test of both receivers to see who rises to the top, and who will have to settle for the #3 spot on the Panthers depth chart.

Panther Insider Top Stories