4 sneaky threats the Panthers should worry about vs. Cardinals

(Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports) Dan Arnold
(Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports) Dan Arnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports) Christian Kirk /

Christian Kirk – WR

It remains to be seen whether star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will take his place in the starting lineup for the Arizona Cardinals after missing some practice this week. This would be a massive blow to their offense, who has relied heavily on the player since they acquired him via trade earlier this year. But all signs now point to the All-Pro at least trying to make an impression.

One positive for the Cardinals was the return of Christian Kirk, who missed their Week 3 loss to the Detroit Lions. The third-year-pro brings a wealth of talent to the table and the Carolina Panthers need to monitor him closely if they want to come away with another impressive victory.

Kirk was a second-round pick back in 2018 and has evolved into a prominent deep threat thanks to his impressive speed. The wideout has managed to collect three of nine targets for 57 receiving yards, which equates to a lofty yards-per-reception average of 19.

This is something that the Panthers need to keep a close eye on. Kirk has the ability to hurt any secondary thanks to his eye-catching elusiveness in tight windows. So focusing too much attention on Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald could spell trouble from Carolina’s perspective.

Kirk would surely see a heavy workload in the event Hopkins was unable to go or limited in terms of his fitness. The Panthers have managed to get some good production from their cornerback group since Rasul Douglas was thrust into a starting role, which is a trend that can hopefully continue going forward.