Panthers NFL Draft Prospects: Austin Proehl, WR
The Carolina Panthers may benefit from the addition of a local prospect…
Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney, along with coach Ron Rivera and his staff have been preparing for the NFL Draft for many months. During that time they have evaluated numerous prospects and developed a plan for the draft to put the team in the best possible situation moving forward.
Hurney has already made a trade, sending corner Daryl Worley to Philadelphia for wide receiver Torrey Smith but he may not be the last receiver added this offseason. Depending on how the draft unravels, the Panthers could elect to add another weapon for quarterback Cam Newton at some point.
If the team decides to use their earlier picks on other candidates, a familiar name could be heard in the later rounds or following the draft altogether. Austin Proehl is draft eligible this year and while he hasn’t garnered a significant amount of attention, his numbers at the University of North Carolina are intriguing given his circumstance.
Proehl enjoyed a standout junior season playing with now Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky, catching 43 passes for 597 yards and three touchdowns. Poised to breakout in his senior season, Proehl finished second on the team in receiving yards (337) despite playing in just six games.
Suffering a collarbone injury, Proehl missed a majority of the Tarheels football season after an impressive season opener. Facing potential Panthers draft pick Jaire Alexander versus Louisville, Proehl hauled in eight passes for over 100-yards but was injured two games later.
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The son of former Panthers player and wide receiver coach Ricky Proehl, a 17-year NFL veteran and two-time Super Bowl Champion, Austin knows a thing or two about both his position and life in the league. His ability to transition into an NFL locker room and familiarity with Charlotte and the Panthers could be beneficial should he go undrafted.
Having played high school football at Providence, 15 miles south of Bank of America Stadium, and attending college in North Carolina, the Panthers may be a sentimental pick but his addition may also feel a much needed role.
Another Charlotte native, Brenton Bersin went undrafted but was signed by the Panthers and managed to stick around for six NFL seasons. His ability to play every receiver position, hard work and knowledge inside the film room made him an asset to Newton and the offense.
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Given the Proehl pedigree, Austin is expected to get a similar opportunity at the NFL level and it may come in Carolina.