This season marks the beginning of the 14th year for the Carolina Panthers franchise. In that time, there has been a lot of talented athletes who were drafted, acquired via trade, or free agency.
Today, I went into the NFL's archives to look at some statistics of both former and current Panthers wide receivers whose names I found on the Panthers all-time roster.
Today I present the Panthers' top five all time wide receivers, and three honorable mentions.
Raghib Ismail, a.k.a. "Rocket," starts the list at No. 5 because of his speed on the football field.
Ismail was acquired by the Panthers for a fifth-round pick to the Raiders in 1996.
As a Panther, Ismail recorded 117 receptions for 1,657 yards, for an averages of 14.2 yards after catch (YAC), and 10 touchdowns.
But receiving wasn't the only job assigned Ismail. He was also utilized the skills of a running back.
As a Panther, Ismail carried the ball 15 times for 154 yards; an average of 10.7 yards per carry, and a touchdown. He also had seven 100+ yard games, and out of the 42 games he played in, Ismail was the starting receiver 22 times.
Donald Hayes was drafted by the Panthers in the fourth round of the 1998 draft out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In his four year stint with the Panthers, Hayes had 132 catches for 1,855 yards, for an average of 14.1 yards after catch. He also scored seven touchdowns, and had a pair of 100+ yard games.
Out of the 51 games he played in, he was the starting receiver 31 times.
Mark Carrier was selected by the Panthers in the 1995 NFL Expansion Draft.
As of 2008, Carrier still ranks fourth all-time on the Panthers all-time receiving list with 176 catches for 2,547 yards; an average of 14.5 yards after catch and 13 touchdowns.
Out of the 56 games Carrier played in, he played as the starting receiver in 36 games. He also has five 100+ yard games.
Fun Fact: On Sept. 1, 1996, Carrier scored the first NFL points and touchdown in North Carolina (games were played at Clemson University in South Carolina in 1995).
Muhsin Muhammad, commonly known as "Moose," was drafted by the Panthers in the second round of the 1996 NFL Draft, with the 43rd overall selection.
Muhammad is a big-bodied receiver who has always had decent speed, great hands, and great control over his body. He is also known for his blocking fake-outs against opposing defenses, while he is in fact running a receiving route.
In Moose's long-tenured career as a Panther, there was a three year span in which he played for the Chicago Bears (2005-2007), but the Bears released him in 2008 and he returned to play in Carolina.
In his 10-year career with the Panthers, Muhammad has amassed 643 catches for 8,674 yards; an average of 13.6 yards after catch and 49 touchdowns.
He also boasts 27-100+ yard games, and out of 141 games Moose has participated, he has been the starting receiver 128 times.
Steve Smith is Superman. Plain and simple. There's no team in the NFL that wouldn't want a talent like Smitty.
Smith is a very special player with his own place in Carolina Panthers history and Panthers fans' hearts.
At 5'9", Smith is one of the smallest receivers in the league, but don't let his size fool you. He has the heart of a lion, and he's as fast and ferocious as a panther.
This cat knows how to use and control his body and feet, and has great hands.
In 2001, the Panthers drafted Smith in the third round with the 77th overall pick.
Fun Fact: A Sports Illustrated draft export said that Panther's wasted their third round pick on a punt returner.
In his time as a Panther, Smith has amassed 509 catches for 7,348 yards, at an average of 14.4 yards after catch. He has scored 43 touchdowns, and has 30-100+ yard games on his resume.
Smith has also been used as a ball carrier. He has 42 carries for 273 yards; an average of 6.5 yards per carry and two touchdowns.
Out of the 106 games that Smith has played in, he has been the starting receiver in 85 times.
During his two season stint with the Panthers, Willie Green contributed 93 catches for 1,496 yards; an average of 16.1 yards after catch, and nine touchdowns. Of the 31 games Green participated, he was a starter 17 times.
As a Panther, Ricky Proehl was another piece of the puzzle that helped the Panthers get to their first Super Bowl in 2004.
During his tenure with the Panthers, Proehl had 86 catches for 1,327 yards; and average of 15.5 yards after catch, and eight touchdowns. Out of the 48 games Proehl participated, he was a starter five times.
Patrick Jeffers played the best year of his career in 1999 with the Panthers. He had 63 catches for 1,082 yards, and 12 touchdowns in one season.
Overall, Jeffers had 77 catches for 1,209 yards; an average of 13.2 yards after catch, and 12 touchdowns. In his three seasons with the Panthers, Jeffers started in 10 games out of the 24 he participated in.