When Kelvin Benjamin tore his ACL, most people looked to second-round pick Devin Funchess as the likeliest replacement for Benjamin in the lineup because the rookie’s size gave him a similar presence on the field.
Any Benjamin impersonations will come in a reserve role against the Jaguars in Week One, however. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Monday that the team will start Ted Ginn and Corey Brown at wideout to kick off the season while Funchess, who had a hamstring injury this summer, is the third man in the mix.
Even with Funchess missing time this summer, seeing Brown’s name in the lineup is a bit of a surprise on a couple of fronts. He struggled with drops in preseason games and practices, which seemed to push him closer to the waiver wire than the first team. It's hard to believe the team won't turn to Funchess at some point sooner than later. Right now, it may just be a case that he's behind in his reps and learning the offense.