Could Panthers’ wide receiver group become NFL’s best in 2020?

Dean Jones
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) D.J. Moore
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) D.J. Moore /

Where does the Carolina Panthers’ wide receiver group rank amongst others in the NFL?

The Carolina Panthers have an embarrassment of riches at the wide receiver position heading into 2020. Offensive coordinator Joe Brady is going to have a lot of fun using the versatile contingent in a variety of different ways as the campaign progresses.

While this might not translate into any immediate success in terms of a postseason berth. Having so many quality options is only going to stand new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in good stead as he looks to become the Panthers’ starter for the foreseeable future.

The Carolina Panthers wide receiver group was given a high ranking by Pro Football Focus, who had the team’s options at No. 8 on a list examining all wideout corps across the NFL.

Here’s what PFF writer Ben Linsey had to say on the Panthers’ receiving options heading into 2020.

"“D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel provide a nice one-two punch, and the addition of Robby Anderson only strengthens the group. Anderson dealt with shaky accuracy downfield in New York, but he has earned a whopping 112 targets 20 or more yards downfield since 2016 (fifth in NFL). Add in Christian McCaffrey — the most valuable running back in the NFL since 2017 in terms of PFF WAR largely because of his contributions as a receiver — and the Panthers receiving corps sticks out as the strength of their team.”"

While there appears little doubt that Carolina’s receivers could be in line for a marked improvement in their fortunes next season. Much will depend on how an offensive line with potentially three new faces holds up.

Much has been made about the decline of center Matt Paradis last season. Veteran left tackle Russell Okung will be looking to improve heading into the final year of his deal. And it remains to be seen as to whether John Miller or Michael Schofield can fill the void left by perennial Pro Bowler Trai Turner.

Can the Carolina Panthers wide receiver group improve in 2020?

There is no doubt that this is a wide receiver group that has the potential to cause some real damage. The Carolina Panthers have the luxury of having wideouts that can impact all areas of the field. And this is going to come in handy against some top defenses in 2020.

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D.J. Moore is coming off his first 1,000-yard season and may even take another step forward with a more consistent signal-caller distributing the ball. Robby Anderson is a deep ball threat that warrants serious attention on the outside. And the player knows Matt Rhule’s system extremely with the pair having worked together in college.

There is also an intriguing situation regarding Curtis Samuel to consider. The slot receiver is in the last year of his rookie deal and the Panthers avoided whatever offers they received to move the player on via trade during the NFL Draft.

Bridgewater also has the best pass-catching running back in the league to call upon in All-Pro Christian McCaffrey. He became only the third player in NFL history to go over 1,000-yards rushing and receiving in the same season in 2019. And it would be a shock to see the former first-round pick gets close to this milestone next time around.

The likes of Seth Roberts, Phorah Cooper, and Keith Kirkwood will all be fighting for game time during training camp. And there is also the presence of undrafted free-agent Omar Bayless to consider following a prolific college career.

This has the potential to be a dynamic Panthers’ offense under Joe Brady. But if their passing game can become one of the NFL’s best in 2020 is debatable. Teddy Bridgewater will need to hit the ground running and there will be little time to gel with his new teammates as social distancing measures remain in place for the time being.

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However, the potential is definitely there. And the passing game should at the very least feature more prominently next season.