The Carolina Panthers clearly need to upgrade their receiving corps, but to what lengths will they go to surround Cam Newton with more talent?
Justin Blackmon would be an obvious choice if he were on the board, but it seems unlikely that he would slip past the Rams, Redskins and Jaguars. That leaves the Panthers with two options if they wish to address this need in the 1st round: Kendall Wright and Michael Floyd.
The top 10 may be too early for either, but it would be a risky move to trade down in hopes of landing one later in the 1st round. While No. 8 or 9 may seem early, they could easily both be off the board by No. 15.
So which one could be worth the risk in the top 10?
Conventional wisdom says go with Floyd, the more traditional No. 1 receiver due to his size. Wright is only 5’10″ and there is not a strong track record for receivers under 6’0″ who are selected in the top 10. While Joey Galloway and Terry Glenn achieved some measure of success, Ginn, Warrick, Howard and even Hilliard fell well short of expectations.
But Wright may be different.
In recent years, more teams are making smaller receivers the focal point of their offense. This past season seven receivers listed at under 6’0″ were the leading receiver on their team, including Wes Welker and Carolina’s Steve Smith.
Now one could argue that Wright is too similar to Smith, which would make it difficult to find starring roles for each in the offense. To a certain extent this is true, but Smith turns 33 in May and can’t be relied upon much longer. And who better for Wright to study under than Steve Smith?
Taking Wright in the top 10 definitely goes against the grain, but could prove to be an excellent long-term investment, and one which Cam Newton is sure to appreciate.