Panthers: Devin Funchess Due For A Big Year in 2018

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 10: Devin Funchess
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 10: Devin Funchess /

Carolina Panthers wideout Devin Funchess is due for a big year in 2018…

Drafted 41st overall. Drafted 47th overall. 6’4” and 225 pounds. 6’3” and 212 pounds. 4.47 second 40. 4.55 second 40. 38.5 inch vertical. 35.0 inch vertical. 122 inch broad jump. 126 inch broad jump. Nine and three quarters inch hands. Ten and a half inch hands. Arm length of 33 and a half inches. Arm length of 32 and an eighth inches. 17 bench press reps. 18 bench press reps. Devin Funchess, receiver for the Carolina Panthers. Michael Thomas, receiver for the New Orleans Saints. 117 catches for 1,684 yards over three seasons.  196 catches for 2,382 yards over two seasons.

There are so many parallels between Funchess and Thomas. They even both played in the Big Ten Conference in college and shared the field for a game on November 29, 2014. What a game. Devin Funchess’ seven receptions and 108 yards outshone Michael Thomas in a losing effort, 28-42. Ezekiel Elliot led the way for Ohio State with 17 carries for 121 yards and two touchdowns in a beatdown of Funchess’ Michigan.

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Yet, all these similarities and Devin Funchess’ stats and performance over three seasons can’t even be compared with Michael Thomas’ two-year run with the Saints. Heck, they even play each other twice a year in the NFC South. Devin Funchess has been labeled disappointing by some, a bust by others. Some still have hope in him as a top receiver. Why hasn’t he been as successful as Thomas in the National Football League?

Opportunity. Thomas has been the unquestioned top receiver for the Saints, whereas Funchess has always had someone above him to hog targets, with Kelvin Benjamin being the usual suspect. This was the case up until midway through last season, at least. Many didn’t notice, but Funchess had 21 catches for 346 yards in the four games after Benjamin was traded, an average of 5.3 catches for 86.5 yards per game. If he produced at that rate for a whole season, he’d have a cool 85 receptions for 1,384 yards, or more than Thomas had each of his years in the NFL.

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Unfortunately, after those four hot games, Devin Funchess was slowed by a shoulder injury the rest of the year, culminating in what was still a career-high 840 yard season. So, with nobody threatening to take his spot as the top receiver for the Carolina Panthers, and with a fresh shoulder to start the season, Devin Funchess is due for a big year.