This article is the first of many complete preseason Panther positional breakdowns. We begin with the wide receiver position.
As a whole, the Panthers have great talent in the receiving corps. In my opinion, the success of this position will rely on two things: the consistency of QB Jake Delhomme, and their ability to stay healthy and productive. There are a lot of past injuries in this group, and that will determine who makes the final roster, and who does not.
The following players reviewed are listed on Carolina's roster coming out of mini-camp.
1. Steve Smith (2008: 78 recpts, 1,421 yds, 18.2 per catch avg, 6 TDs): Nothing else needs to be said about Smith. If he remains healthy, and doesn't punch another teammate during the season, Smith stands to be one of the top WR's in the NFL in 2009.
2. Mushin Muhammad (2008: 65 recpts, 923 yds, 14.2 yds per catch avg, 5 TDs): Muhammad is the consummate pro receiver. He blocks well, runs solid routes, and is able to bring down the tough catches.
3. Dwayne Jarrett (2008: 10 recpts, 119 yds, 11.9 yds per catch avg, 0 TDs): Jarrett has fully recovered from his 2007 knee injury, playing in 16 games last season with one start. He's a quality third receiver, and makes a solid target for Delhomme.
DESERVES A LOOK
1. Kenneth Moore (signed from Detroit 10/8/08, inactive all 2008 season): Moore is a speedy receiver with great after-the-catch swerve. Moore could be worth a look as a returner as well.
2. Jason Chery: As a senior at UL-L, Chery earned second team all-league honors after scoring 11 touchdowns and averaging 21.7 yards per kickoff return. He was second in the Sun Belt with 1,921 all-purpose yards and seven receiving touchdowns. He also had 14 tackles on special teams.
3. Larry Beavers: Beavers was a phenomenal DIII return specialist, with 10 KOR for TD’s. At the Delaware Pro Run, Beavers ran the 40 in 4.37 and 4.43, with a 37" vertical. Definitely worth a look.
JURY’S STILL OUT
1. Jason Carter (placed on IR 8/25/08, then resigned as free agent 4/6/09): Carter, over the past two years, has played in one game (with Minnesota in 2006 - 5 catches, 54 yards). He accumulated almost 3,000 all-purpose yards at Texas A&M, and was a Big XII Honorable Mention his senior year.
2. Ryne Robinson: Robinson hurt his knee during training camp on 10/8/08. He's looking to rebound this season, but coaches are not sure about his ability at this point.
3. Kevin McMahan (signed from Kansas City 12/6/08): McMahan was "Mr. Irrelevant" in 2006 (selected last by Oakland in the draft). While at Maine, he caught 130 passes for 1,995 yards and 25 touchdowns over his career, and was First Team All-Atlantic 10 his senior season.
4. Marcus Monk (signed as free agent 5/1/09): Monk is the all time TD reception leader at Arkansas with 27. He's relatively untested in the NFL, but he definitely has the hands for the job. Fox should look very closely at Monk.