2012 Carolina Panthers: A Look at Armanti Edwards' Future in the NFL

Nader KtaitCorrespondent IIJune 15, 2012

Carolina Panthers' receiver Armanti Edwards
Carolina Panthers' receiver Armanti EdwardsStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

As of right now, it doesn't look like Armanti Edwards is going anywhere just yet.

The Carolina Panthers recently added two undrafted free agents to their roster, Michael Avila (from San Jose State) and Lamont Bryant (from Morgan State). To make room for these new additions, the Panthers waived Chris Manno and Wes Kemp. 

The Panthers have made a good amount of changes and additions to their backup receiving corps and it's interesting to see that Edwards hasn't been among one of those changes. 

While Edwards' main duty was to return punts in the 2011 season, it looks like that job is going to Joe Adams in the coming season. The question then remains: What will Edwards' role be now?

Edwards was drafted in the third round in 2010 by the Panthers.

He had a successful college career at Appalachian State as quarterback. The Panthers, however, drafted Edwards in hopes of converting him into a receiver.

At the time, John Fox and Marty Hurney must have seen something special in Edwards. However, Fox is no longer around, and Ron Rivera is now monitoring the Edwards project.

Hurney has addressed Edwards' situation, as it pertains to drafting Adams. Senior writer for panthers.com, Bryan Strickland, reported that Hurney had this to say about Edward's situation:

Joe Adams' punt return skills are special, but I think Armanti is in the mix at receiver, which we always saw as his best shot. Armanti brings deep speed, which we're looking for.

It's interesting that Edwards was used as much as he was for punt return duties. Such duties are not primarily designated to receivers. But as Hurney said, "Armanti brings deep speed."

Thus, Edwards "deep speed" is obviously a big reason why the Panthers still value him, and it may be a reason why he's still on the roster. 

But the 2012 season should determine what will happen to Edwards. Whether it's in the preseason or earlier, Edwards has a lot to prove.

Whether or not Rivera and Hurney initially saw Edwards as receiver first, the fact that they drafted another receiver to take over Edwards' punt returning duties does not work in Edwards' favor. 

The 2012 season then is not only important for Edwards future with the Panthers, it's also important for his NFL career. Edwards is going to need to show that he is capable of becoming an NFL receiver.

If he's not able to show some signs of greatness with the Panthers, then it's unlikely that other teams will give him a shot.