Carolina Panthers: Is Devin Funchess ready?


Devin Funchess does not think small by any means.  Drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Michigan, Funchess came into his first training camp and immediately began working hard.  He observed everything around him, taking it all on no matter how big or how small.

Jul 31, 2015; Spartanburg, SC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess (17) catches a pass during training camp held at Wofford College. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Funchess also immediately began learning all three wide receiver positions when he came into camp – the ‘X’, the position Benjamin played, the ‘Z’, the position which aligns opposite the ‘X’ and the slot receiver position.  Learning all three wide receiver positions put the 6’4″ 225-pound Funchess on the fast track to learning the Panthers offense.  Funchess had visions of the 2015 season being a big year, but he never thought he would be thrust into the prominent role as the number one receiver, until Kelvin Benjamin tore his ACL in practice.

“It was always my expectation for it to be a big year.  It just so happened that occurred yesterday (Wednesday, August 19th).  So I guess everybody will expect more on my plate.”

Obviously Funchess realizes he will have to step up with the loss of Benjamin and it appears he is willing to take this challenge.  It is also evident the coaches for the Carolina Panthers, as well as teammates know

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that Funchess has the mentality and skills to step up, as head coach Ron Rivera noted

“We drafted Devin Funchess for a reason and this is one of them.  You want to have a big, quality receiver, and Devin gives us that still.”

Tight end Greg Olsen also believes Funchess will prosper in the absence of Benjamin, stating

“I think he had a good camp and he’s come a long way.  He’s a good kid.  He’s smart.  He understands what he’s got to do.”

Funchess, who had 733 yards receiving on 62 catches, with four touchdowns his senior season, obviously has the potential to be the number receiver Cam Newton looks for when dropping back to pass.  So now the questions becomes – ‘can Funchess live up to the standards everyone believes he can?’