Nov 18, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell (11) reacts after scoring a touchdown. The Buccaneers defeated the Panthers 27-21 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Case for Brandon LaFell

Brandon LaFell is undeniably my favorite player on the Carolina Panthers roster. For some reason I really connect with him, for some weird, strange reason. I don’t know what it is but I really like this guy, and every single time that makes a catch I always find myself exclaiming “La-Fell”!

I’m not so sure why I like him so much though, his track record is not exactly stellar. Compared to most other starting receivers on other teams he isn’t exactly beating them, in fact his stats aren’t exactly up to par with the others. Hell, Domenik Hixon has already had a better single season than LaFell, and Hixon has been regulated to the bench for most of his career. But I still feel for LaFell in some odd way. I think he has a ton of potential as a receiver. He is tall, standing in at 6 foot 2 inches, athletic, and most importantly; he has terrific hands, at times, excluding his sure touchdown drop against the Chiefs. He has made spectacular catches in the past and with enough practice and time I’m sure he can become an elite receiver. He has a ton of upside and has definitely had all the time in the world to learn from one of the best receivers in the league, Steve Smith.

Oct 21, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell (11) runs after catching a pass during the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

LaFell has a lot of downside as well. Compared to the Corners and other Receivers in the league, he is pretty slow, and is constantly getting beat down the stretch. His breakout speed isn’t exactly the best either, though he did have that one 91 yard touchdown catch against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, setting a team record. The game was also held, coincidentally, on my birthday, December 24th, so that was probably one of the better birthday presents I will ever get. His hands are very streaky, I’ve already reminded us all of his atrocious dropped catch against the Chiefs, a catch that more than likely could have won us the game.

With all that being said LaFell does have tenure with the Panthers, and that has to account for something. Though the additions of Hixon and Ginn might make him work harder for retaining that starting position as the Panthers second Wide Receiver. Ginn probably isn’t a threat, and LaFell should only worry about Hixon. Hixon has had one year that trumps all of LaFell’s time in the NFL, though Hixon is much older than LaFell, who is now entering his fourth year with Panthers, the last year in his rookie contract. But LaFell does have more upside than Hixon, the most obvious being his age. LaFell is beefier than Hixon, who strikes me like he is extremely scrawny, lanky, and stringy.

Dec 30, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell (11) carries against New Orleans Saints defensive back Rafael Bush (25) during first quarter of their game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

David Gettis is also a treat to LaFell’s starting spot. Gettis already took over for LaFell in their shared rookie year. Only because of Gettis’s untimely injury did LaFell take over for Gettis the following year. It is very possible that Gettis could overtake LaFell as the Panthers number two receiver on the depth chart. Though I would think that LaFell will hold his spot as the number two receiver, he has been the number two for two years so far, and has proved his worth to the team. I just hope that he can hold onto the spot, it would be quite a shame if he got passed up for either Hixon or Gettis.

As always, that is what I think about LaFell’s future with the Panthers, but what do you guys think? Please leave them in the comments below.

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