WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters – Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell. Backups – Dwayne Jarrett, Armanti Edwards, Wallace Wright, Charly Martin, Kenneth Moore, David Gettis. Others – Trent Guy, Dexter Jackson, Oliver Young.
Keep Jarrett’s name in pencil because although he’s working with the starters right now, he could easily be released before the start of the season if he doesn’t start producing. Now entering his fourth season, Jarrett has only appeared in 29 games and caught just 33 passes with one touchdown.
The Panthers need someone to step up and take pressure off Smith, which is why they drafted LaFell and Edwards in the third round. LaFell is Jarrett’s primary competition for the No. 2 spot opposite Smith. He has the ability to make plays downfield and is a decent blocker. It also helps that new receivers coach Tyke Tolbert is a former LSU graduate and pushed for the team to draft LaFell.
Edwards is a project. He played quarterback for Appalachian State, but the Panthers plan to make him a receiver and returner, although he could see some action in the Wildcat as well. Edwards is fast and has surprisingly good hands, but you have to wonder if his smallish frame will hold up.
Smith will miss most of training camp with a broken arm he sustained playing flag football but he should be ready for the season. Wright will make the roster because of his special teams ability but hopes to play some receiver. Martin, Moore and Gettis, a late-round draft pick, will battle for the fifth receiver spot. Gettis has great straightaway speed (think Drew Carter here). LEAGUE RANKING: 27th out of 32 teams.
LaFell may eventually have some value as the WR2 in Carolina, although young receivers don't tend to produce fantasy-wise right away. He could be someone to watch out for as the season moves along, though. Currently he just barely cracks 4for4's top-100 WRs [number-99] but doesn't have an ADP.