Carolina Panthers WR group barely crack top-20 in recent rankings

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

Despite a talented wide receiver group available to the Carolina Panthers, they barely cracked the top-20 in a recent ranking on NFL SpinZone.

Big things are expected of the Carolina Panthers wide receivers this season. They appear loaded with talent despite losing Curtis Samuel to the Washington Football Team in free agency, although their success will obviously depend on whether quarterback Sam Darnold can turn his career around at the earliest possible opportunity.

Darnold has a massive opportunity on the Panthers. The weapons around him are the biggest of upgrades to anything the signal-caller experienced with the New York Jets. The USC product also has a coaching staff who are progressive and have every confidence he can finally start reaching his potential.

Having D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson also helps. The pair became one of the league’s most productive wideout tandems in 2020, both going over 1,000 yards and producing plenty of memorable highlights along the way.

Couple this with the free-agent arrival of David Moore and the rookie duo of Terrace Marshall Jr. and Shi Smith entering the fold, it’s not hard to see why expectations are where they are with this group currently.

That is not an opinion shared by everyone.

Carolina Panthers WRs ranked No. 20 by NFL SpinZone writer.

Randi Gurzi, who writes for NFL SpinZone and is the site expert at Dawg Pound Daily, recently produced his wide receiver group rankings ahead of the 2021 season. Carolina ranked No. 20 on his list, which was partly down to Moore and Anderson’s inability to get into the end zone consistently.

"“If there was any issue, it’s their ability to get in the end zone. Moore has never caught more than four touchdowns in a season and Anderson had three for the Panthers last season. They hope the addition of Sam Darnold will help them get even better in 2021 and that could happen.”"

This does seem a little low. Especially when one considers the potential for Marshall to have a breakout rookie campaign judging by his early impressions at training camp.

Moore and Anderson have also caught the eye during drills. Something that the Panthers hope will translate to yet more outstanding production when it matters most.

Letting Samuel walk in free agency was always on the cards. The salary cap coming down didn’t help matters, but it didn’t give Carolina ample time to come up with a solid contingency plan.

If Darnold thrives in Joe Brady’s scheme – and it’s a big of – the talent is there for the Panthers to have one of the league’s best wide receiver groups when it’s all said and done.

Certainly a lot better than most teams ahead of them on this list.

It’s a lot of ifs and buts, at least for now.

Everything seems to be in position for the Panthers to do some real damage in the passing game. This bears even more significance with Christian McCaffrey returning to full health after appearing in just three games last time around due to injury.

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The protection needs to live up to its end of the bargain, which might be more of a concern than even Darnold. But that should not detract from what a gifted wideout room Carolina has at its disposal next season.