5 burning questions facing the Carolina Panthers at WR in 2021

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Ishmael Hyman /

Do the Carolina Panthers have a wildcard?

One suspects the top three or four wide receivers are already set in stone where the Carolina Panthers are concerned. But they might also have a couple of wildcards right in the mix for playing time judging by the first week of training camp.

This will only help their chances, especially if a top target is forced to miss time at any stage of the campaign. A few players have made a noticeable impression during drills, which means some difficult decisions are on the horizon for Matt Rhule, Scott Fitterer, and other influential figures within the organization.

Sixth-round selection Shi Smith comes with a tremendous amount of upside. The Panthers came away from the Senior Bowl suitably impressed with the South Carolina product and it would be a surprise if the player didn’t carve out a role for himself over time.

Omar Bayless has picked up where he left off last summer after being denied a roster spot due to injury. The undrafted free agent has certainly looked the part and has created separation almost at will, so it might be second time lucky for the player if he catches the eye during the preseason.

Don’t count out Ishmael Hyman, either.

Although mostly a practice squad player in 2020, Hyman has been one of the standout performers within the positional group throughout the offseason and could be a surprise addition to the team as well.

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This healthy competition is a good thing. And it might just come with one or two contributors we might not see coming when the real action gets underway.