Panthers: Competition begins to emerge at slot receiver
The Carolina Panthers may have a choice to make during camp…
Wednesday, Pro Football Focus put out a great preview as they tackled (pun intended) some of the key storylines for Carolina Panthers training camp.
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One of the key camp battles they previewed (and one I quite honestly had not thought of) was the slot receiver position. They pitted Curtis Samuel against Jarius Wright. The former Minnesota weapon battling the Ohio State star would be an intriguing battle to watch and one that would excite.
Let me start by saying this: Both wideouts have key attributes that have allowed them to become dependable players in the National Football League. Samuel is known for being a speedster. Wright is known for his clutch catches, particularly on third down. The latter would certainly be known as a specialist. Both wideouts rely moreso on sill rather than size. Wright measures in at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds. Samuel comes in at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds. It is honestly quite amazing how similar the two are in terms in build.
Looking at their statistical production last season, those comparisons are similar too. Both Wright and Samuel suffered injuries throughout the course of the season. Samuel suffered his ankle injury in November on Monday Night Football. Wright suffered his injury against the Cincinnati Bengals on December 17. One injury appears to be greater than the other. Samuel’s required an entire offseason of extensive rehab while Wright appeared to be relatively fine in comparison.
The two are similar in many ways and at the end of the day the question has to be asked. Who will win the Carolina Panthers slot receiver job?
This is a tough question to ask and it is difficult for me to pit one against the other as I both want them to succeed. For right now, I’d have to give the job to Wright.
Although we know what Samuel is capable of, we only really know what he is capable of. There have been instances where we have seen what he can do. Due to injury (and that is not a knock on him) we have yet to see what he can truly produce. He will have his opportunities this season. Per the most recent depth chart form OurLads.com, he is the No. 2 receiver at the right wideout position behind Devin Funchess,
Wright’s body of work is much more substantial. If anything we at least know what he can do on third down. Wright was given the nickname “Mr. Third Down” during his time with the Vikings, always seeming to be able to make a big play when the team needed it most. In December 2015 for instance, Wright recorded 13 catches. Nine resulted in first downs and four were third-down conversions.
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It should be interesting to see how this battle shapes up. If anything, it will make Carolina Panthers camp a bit more fun with another storyline added to the mix.