4 Carolina Panthers skyrocketing up depth chart after 2023 preseason opener

Which Carolina Panthers players improved their roster chances in Preseason Week 1?
Spencer Brown
Spencer Brown / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Derek Wright - Carolina Panthers WR

It seems every offseason the Carolina Panthers see someone perform well throughout camp and the preseason before sneaking onto the roster. This season that man could easily be wide receiver Derek Wright.

The 2022 undrafted free agent gave a tremendous account of himself during camp last summer without quite doing enough to make the 53-man roster. But Wright has impressed many this off-season once again and was solid enough against the New York Jets.

Wright was a standout for the Utah State Aggies and had 11 touchdown grabs during his senior season - the second most in school history for a single season. On the early depth chart, Wright was somewhere around No. 7 or No. 8 behind the likes of Shi Smith and Damiere Byrd.

In a preseason opener that saw just 113 passing yards, Wright led the team in both receptions and receiving yards. He was the highest-graded Panthers’ offensive player according to Pro Football Focus at 75.9 and a passer rating of 115.3 when targeted.

With Bryd expected to miss time with a hamstring injury and Smith potentially injuring his shoulder, the path for Wright to make the roster seems to be becoming clearer. With the Panthers expected to carry six wide receivers, he's put himself right in contention.

One would expect him to be given extended playing time over the final preseason games. If Wright continues to perform in the same vein, don’t be surprised to see him on the final 53.