Carolina's Most Wanted: Wide Receiver

Could the Cards' Anquan Boldin be the Panthers' No.2 receiver in '10?

I’ve been told—not that I needed to be reminded—that Carolina’s biggest need this offseason is at the wide receiver position.

In case you missed last season, it is becoming more evident with each passing year, that the Panthers need a changing of the guard at the No. 2 receiver slot in a legitimate receiving threat.

About a month ago, receiver Steve Smith was adamant with Panthers’ beat writer Tom Sorenson about the team’s need for a speedster opposite him at the No. 2 spot.

For those of us—myself included—who have a soft spot for longtime veteran receiver Muhsin Muhammad, it’s understandable. Even while taking a three-year hiatus in Chicago, Moose still returned to Carolina as the Panthers’ all-time leading receiver in yards.

But we all know the acronym for “NFL.” I won’t humor you with it.

So since we’re on the topic, now’s as good a time as any to take a look at a few free agent prospects that could be on the Panthers’ radar.

Antonio Bryant

Bryant is kind of like the offensive version of Julius Peppers, in that a team does not know what to expect from him on a weekly basis. He brings his good games, and then there are the games where he’s missed the bus or decided to sleep in at the hotel. We’ll call him Pep-Lite.

To take a little heat off of Bryant, he played in Tampa Bay in 2009. Not the model franchise to measure success with as of late. The Bucs employed a rookie head coach, had a change of coaching staff early in the season, and also changed quarterbacks three times.

On the plus side, Bryant is a good physical target.

Kevin Walter

Walter, formerly of the Houston Texans, is actually considered to be an underrated No. 2 style of receiver with good size (6-3, 218) and does all the little things well.

If you are interested in his stats, I’ll reluctantly oblige (you know my opinion on those things). In his seven-year career, the Eastern Michigan product has amassed 2,766 yards receiving on 225 catches, and 15 receiving touchdowns.

I would venture to say this guy would actually give the Panthers more bang for their buck.

Derrick Mason

No way, right? No way would the Panthers bring him in, let alone consider him, right?

Why not?

Okay first, he’s the same age as Moose. I understand that. I’m looking at his profile on NFL.com right now, as a matter of fact. I’m also looking at Moose’s…Not much to brag about in comparison.

Mason was the Ravens No.1 receiver in 2009, and since 2005 for the most part. So it is rather an unfair comparison to make, since Mason does have the advantage. And I suppose his receptions and yardage would decrease. It only makes sense. But my biggest concern with Mason is the same concern I have with Moose: Injury.

Mason will be in the NFL next year, but I doubt it will be in Carolina.

The Rest

Well two, really—and then a third and a fourth: Anquan Boldin and Brandon Marshall, are two hot commodities for any team right now.

Do I see either athlete being on Carolina’s roster in 2010? Well, I’d love for either one of them to don the black, silver, and blue. But I don’t see that happening, either. The chances of Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb being traded to Carolina are far greater than either Marshall or Boldin landing in the Queen City.

On a side note, I will gladly eat my words, if I am proven incorrect (won’t be the first time, nor will it be the last).

Another rumor to note, the Panthers might also consider pursuing Titans’ DE Kyle Vanden Bosch to beef up the defensive front. However should that not pan out, the Panthers might address the need through the draft in the later rounds.

Don’t forget, you may follow Cat Crave on Twitter: @THECatCrave.

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Tags: 2010 NFL Draft 2010 NFL Restricted Free Agents 2010 NFL Unrestricted Free Agents Anquan Boldin Antonio Bryant Arizona Cardinals Baltimore Ravens Brandon Marshall Carolina Panthers Chicago Chicago Bears Denver Broncos Derrick Mason Donovan McNabb Houston Texans Kevin Walter Kyle Vanden Bosch Muhsin Muhammad NFL Philadelphia Eagles Steve Smith Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tennessee Titans Tom Sorenson Wide Receivers

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