Coming into the 2021 season, the Panthers were thought to have one of the most dynamic receiving duos in the NFL with DJ Moore and Robby Anderson. For whatever reason, Anderson never established a connection with new quarterback Sam Darnold despite having played with him in the past with the Jets.
Even with a down year in 2021, I don’t expect the Panthers to make a big move at receiver given the other major holes on the roster that need to be addressed. However, the depth at receiver is an issue. Beyond Anderson, the Panthers have Terrace Marshall Jr. and Shi Smith who hardly saw the field as rookies. Brandon Zylstra is set to be a free agent, but he isn’t expected to be a difference-maker at receiver.
With limited cap space, I do see Carolina going after a cheap third option that can help fill multiple roles.
Braxton Berrios makes a lot of sense for this team. He has experience returning punts and kicks and can offer some production on offense as well. This would be a major upgrade over Alex Erickson who returned punts last season and was buried on the depth chart at receiver. Erickson didn’t do a bad job, but Berrios was named an All-Pro for a reason.
If Berrios doesn’t have any interest, another receiver that fits the same mold is Jakeem Grant. Grant has been primarily a punt/kick returner throughout his career and has been exceptional at it. He’s returned 119 punts for 1,228 yards and four touchdowns and returned 110 kicks for 2,699 yards and two scores.
For the first four years of his career, Raymond was primarily a returner. This past year in Detroit, he was able to showcase what he can do as a receiver and had a fairly productive season hauling in 48 receptions for 576 yards and four touchdowns. Another good option to add as a No.3/4 receiver/returner.
Humphries has been a steady No. 3/4 option during his NFL career, spending time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, and the Washington Commanders. In his seven-year career, Humphries is averaging 45.7 receptions, 473.4 yards, and 1.8 touchdowns per season. He catches about 70% of his targets and is mainly used in the underneath passing game, something the Panthers needed in 2021.
The Panthers need a big, physical threat in the passing game, at least until Terrace Marshall Jr. can be relied on. Pascal could be that guy at 6’2″, 214 lbs. Many felt that earlier in his career that Pascal could evolve into a No. 1 or at worst No. 2 receiver. Unfortunately, inconsistencies have troubled him along the way but a maybe a change of scenery will do him well.
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