A more in-depth look at the parade of Carolina receivers will follow soon, however I would like to take this post to give a quick overview of the wide receiver corps.
The Guy: Steve Smith
Obviously, Steve Smith is the starter at the receiver position, and rightfully so. Over the past three years, he has been one of the most electric and exciting receivers to watch. He has also been very productive. Last year, despite numerous QB changes and blatant disregard to the fact that Steve Smith was on the field, he still was able to catch 87 balls for 1,002 yards and 7 touchdowns. Smith got a lot of that in the first two games. Through those first two games, Smith had almost 300 yards and had already scored 4 touchdowns. Remember, however, that Delhomme was playing those first two games. If Delhomme is able to stay on the field, Smith should be able to have a similar year, statistics-wise, to 2006.
The Old Friend: Muhsin Muhammad
Muhsin Muhammad was the guy before Steve Smith took over the reigns. When Steve Smith broke his leg a few years ago, Muhammad was the number one target, the number two target, and the number three target on almost every play for Delhomme. That year, he had 93 catches for 1,405 yards and 16 touchdowns. Coming back the Panthers, Muhsin should bring some much needed spark to a static receiving corps of last year, however the only knock on Muhsin is his age. He is currently 35, meaning that this could be his last season in the league.
The Free Agent: D.J. Hackett
One of the better pickups the Panthers had in free agency, D.J. Hackett should be able to come in and immediately contribute to the team. He was very consistent playing for Seattle, but he did go through many injuries last year. Last year was supposed to be his breakthrough year, and it was looking like it could have been, until he was injured. Through six games that he started, he had 32 catches for 384 yards and 3 touchdowns. Hopefully, D.J. saved his breakthrough year for the Panthers.
The Second Round Pick: Dwayne Jarrett
Well, Dwayne Jarrett didn’t exactly blow anyone away with his performance last year. To be fair, he played in only 7 games and did not start any of them, however he only managed to pull in 6 balls all year. Is he a second round bust? No one really knows yet, considering he has only played a year of professional football. Maybe with three solid receivers in front of him, Jarrett will be able to learn from them and become a more productive player.
The Other Guys: Travis Taylor, Ryne Robinson, Josh Davis
All of these guys listed above will be fighting for the fifth receiver slot. It is unlikely that anyone of them will be spectacular, but one of them could surprise coaches and possibly move above Dwayne Jarrett in the depth chart.