Feb 21, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Breaking: Stephen Hill Joins Panthers Practice Squad

A day after working out the 2012 second-round pick, the Panthers have signed previous New York Jets receiver Stephen Hill to the practice squad. The expanded eligibility has been beneficial two-fold now, with the Panthers also getting to keep Robert Lester whom would have been ineligible with previous rules. Appalachian State LB D.J. Smith was release in order to make room for Hill and the practice squad roster is as follows:

Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Tavaress King WR

Marcus Lucas WR

Stephen Hill WR

Darrin Reaves RB

Andrew McDonald OL

Micanor Regis DT

Casey Walker DT

Adarius Glanton LB

Carrington Byndom CB

Robert Lester S

Formerly of Georgia Tech, Hill joined the Jets and struggled tremendously with drops throughout his two years there. Spotty QB play probably did him no favors, but Hill now has a chance to prove himself under the tutelage of Ricky Proehl alongside Marcus Lucas and Tavarres King. Obviously, Gettleman and company still have a mostly open door policy with receivers so the unit consisting of Kelvin Benjamin, Jericho Cotchery, Jason Avant, Brenton Bersin, and Philly Brown may not look the same by the end of the year.

Hill has an opportunity specifically to fill a void that Tiquan Underwood failed to capitalize on this preseason. With the departure of Ted Ginn, Underwood was expected to spread the field and be a deep threat but his inconsistent play on the offense and on special teams led to him ultimately not making the cut. Hill certainly has the speed to blow the top off of a defense, but he has to prove he can hold on to the ball. Benjamin came into the league with similar detractors but has since been as sure handed as the best of them. With Proehl behind the whistle, there’s hope Hill and even King can develop into playmakers and lead the charge when Avant and Cotchery vacate the team in the near future.

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