It was a mere few months ago when a certain question was on every Carolina Panthers fan’s mind…
@NFL Who is Cam Newton gonna be throwing to this year?
— Plaxico Burress (@plaxicoburress) March 16, 2014
The offseason began to paint a picture. With Smith, Sr. being released and Avant/Cotchery being brought in as mentors, Gettleman seemed to be giving Cam the keys to the offense. Kelvin Benjamin in the 1st round of the draft was another stroke from the brush, bringing with him immense potential and somewhat of a security blanket with such a large catching radius as Cam works on his accuracy.
With not many more Wide Receiver moves in free agency or the draft, it also became clear that it was open house on the last few slots on the roster. Smith, Ginn, and Lafell departing opened the door for many players that were constantly on the bubble.
Training Camp added a few subtle details as some players began to stand out in the battle to make the 53 man roster and Tavarres King popped up often, making catch after catch.
After banging himself up a bit, Kelvin was able to witness from the sidelines just who may be across from him in the coming years. King and Brenton Bersin both displayed reliability, but King looks to possess the stature, tools, and physicality to become a weapon higher up on the depth chart. No disrespect to Bersin in the slightest, but he looks the part of role player more so than star skill player.
The opening preseason game showed us what some of the receivers do with live balls and, in the 3rd team offense, King shined. In a penalty ridden drive where his first reception (a 52 yard toss and catch where he torched the secondary) was called back for holding, King was targeted often by Webb and displayed soft hands and a knack for creating space.
His performance didn’t automatically guarantee that King will make the final cuts, but he certainly earned some focus while fan’s and coaches’ eyes wander the WR corp.
With Cam cleared to start against the Chiefs, maybe we’ll get to see King line up with Anderson and the 2nd team. If his success repeats, maybe he’ll be able to contribute to this beautiful work of art the offense is turning into.