NFL Draft: Carolina Panthers Take LSU WR Brandon LaFell in the Third Round

Austin PennyAnalyst IApril 23, 2010

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 14:  Brandon LaFell #1 of the LSU Tigers jumps over Jai Eugene #4 of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on his way to scoring a touchdown at Tiger Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers have selected LSU wide receiver Brandon LaFell with their second pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the 78th overall selection.

LaFell stands 6'3" and weighs in at 211 pounds, making him a viable option to replace veteran Muhsin Muhammad as the team's primary possession receiver.

The team has not re-signed Muhammad and the selection of LaFell makes that scenario seem, at least on the surface, even less likely.

The Panthers are making a clear statement that they intend to bolster the passing game in 2010 to keep defenses a little more honest against the team's superb running game. 

If LaFell can make an impact early, it will also free up Steve Smith, who has been the victim of double teams and blanket coverage with the absence of a legitimate threat opposite him at receiver.

LaFell had 175 catches for 2,517 yards and 25 touchdowns during his career at LSU, ranking just outside of the top-ten in school history in all of those categories. 

He injured his MCL in the Capital One Bowl but recovered in time to work out at the NFL Combine, where he was largely unimpressive, posting a 40-yard dash time of 4.58. 

LaFell has great hands and has shown an ability to break away from defenders on occasion and has compiled an impressive highlight reel over a successful college career. 

He should see playing time right away in Carolina with the lack of depth at the receiver position.