4 Panthers players who exceeded expectations against the Raiders

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Robby Anderson
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Robby Anderson /
4 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) Pharoh Cooper /

Pharoh Cooper – Carolina Panthers KR

The Carolina Panthers might have tasted defeat in their Week 1 game. But that is not down to the high level of production they got from Pharoh Cooper.

His presence as a kick returner was a significant asset that provided some useful field position for the Panthers early on. This was a trend that continued throughout the game which only increased hope that Carolina now finally has someone at the specialist position that can be relied upon consistently.

Cooper was a free-agent signing from the Arizona Cardinals this offseason. The All-Pro enjoyed a strong training camp but finds himself within a stacked wide receiver group that might leave him on the outside looking in during the first few weeks of the campaign.

The player’s targets might increase depending on how others ahead of him on the depth chart perform when their names are called. But in the meantime, Cooper will be tasked with providing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with the best possible starting position from which to put substantial points on the board.

Cooper’s elusiveness in tight windows really caught the eye on his returns. He returned four kicks for 109 yards at an average of 27.5, in addition to taking back two punts for 29 yards (14.5 average).

If the Panthers can get this level of play from Cooper throughout the season, it is going to do their chances of picking up wins the world of good.