4 key observations from Panthers 2022 training camp practice Day 7

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Matt Rhule
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) C.J. Saunders /

Carolina Panthers WR C.J. Saunders staking a big claim

Gaining targets seems difficult for any wide receiver further down the depth chart. The Carolina Panthers have D.J. Moore, Robbie Anderson, and Terrace Marshall Jr. as their top trio, but one player is staking a big claim for involvement over training camp so far.

C.J. Saunders arrived at the Panthers last season and spent most of the campaign as a practice squad member. He did feature two times, bringing in both his receptions for 11 receiving yards, and seems determined to build upon this in 2022.

Saunders has a sharpness to his route-running and is a reliable catcher under pressure. Something the Panthers were relatively devoid of last time around despite Moore’s outstanding numbers once again.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed by head coach Matt Rhule, who stated there is already confidence in Saunders’ abilities that he is enhancing with standout performances in camp.

"“The other day, he made two or three plays that looked like Pro Bowl plays. I don’t think there’s a guy here that doesn’t have confidence in C.J. already.”"

The former Ohio State captain has his work cut out, obviously. But his reliability on the rotation coupled with an ability to make a special teams contribution mean he’s got a real shot of making the 53-man roster right out of the gate.