4 surprising candidates to make the Carolina Panthers 53-man roster in 2023

Derek Wright
Derek Wright / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 4

Derek Wright - Carolina Panthers WR

Much has been made about the Carolina Panthers sacrificing D.J. Moore in their quest to finally solve the team's quarterback problems. His inclusion was a necessity from the Chicago Bears' standpoint to rubber-stamp the trade, which provides Justin Fields with a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver entering a critical Year 3 of his professional career.

As for the Panthers, they also have genuine hope better fortunes could be on the way with Bryce Young under center. Moore's loss will be felt, but those in power seem confident enough that a wideout-by-committee approach can suffice unless someone like Terrace Marshall Jr. or Jonathan Mingo breaks out.

Much will depend on how many receivers Carolina takes through onto the roster. Five places appear set in stone, so it's a fight between the rest for one or two remaining spots during their upcoming training camp in Spartanburg.

One player that remains overlooked but is quietly growing in confidence is Derek Wright. While considered by many to be an outsider to make the roster, he's been among the standout contributors throughout early workouts once again and caught the attention of head coach Frank Reich, who was surprised by what the wideout had to offer.

This is the same trend Wright managed to put together last summer before eventually settling for a place on the practice squad. While that wouldn't be the end of the world once again, impressing in the preseason represents the next logical step that might just provide an opportunity - however unlikely it might appear.