How could the Carolina Panthers ignite Terrace Marshall Jr.'s spark?

The former second-round pick is facing an uncertain future.
Terrace Marshall Jr.
Terrace Marshall Jr. / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Terrace Marshall Jr. hasn't lived up to his pre-draft billing so far. The wide receiver thrives when the pressure is off during the summer. When competitive games arrive, it's a different story.

Marshall boasts every athletic intangible needed to be productive. He's big, physically imposing, and explosive. That should be a dangerous combination, but it hasn't come together as yet.

Frustrations boiled over last season as Marshall once again became an innocent bystander. He was permitted to seek a trade before the deadline. When nothing concrete emerged, the former second-round selection out of LSU was a healthy scratch more often than not over the second half of 2023.

The Panthers acquired Diontae Johnson via trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers before free agency. They also traded up for Xavier Legette at No. 32 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. While this was expected and will be great for quarterback Bryce Young, it does nothing to improve Marshall's chances of extended involvement under the new regime.

Carolina Panthers looking to get Terrace Marshall Jr. comfortable

Things look bleak for Marshall. But all hope is not lost just yet.

He's once again made an imposing start to early workouts according to those in attendance. Dave Canales is also eager to put a better environment around Marshall to see if it ignites his inner spark based on comments via Fan Nation.

"He’s been reliable. He’s doing what we’re asking him to do. He’s running the right routes. You can see that this is a big man with speed in there and I think that the more comfortable he’s getting with our system, with our concepts, the faster he looks. I’m really curious to see where he takes that this year. I know he’s had a couple of years here and hasn’t really produced to the potential of what people might think, but hopefully we’ll create an environment where he’s able to get onto our offense and show us something."

Dave Canales via Fan Nation

Fans are rightfully skeptical regarding any positive stories around Marshall. They've heard the same old story over the last three years. Nothing of substance emerges when the regular season arrives, but Canales' presence might be the key that unlocks the player's true potential.

Marshall is pretty far down the pecking order. Johnson, Legette, Adam Thielen, and Jonathan Mingo are ahead of him on the depth chart. Ihmir Smith-Marsette is an intriguing gadget option that can be utilized creatively in Canales' system. That leaves the Louisiana native fighting it out for the sixth and potentially final roster spot entering the last year of his rookie deal.

There isn't much chance Marshall can reach the heights expected of a No. 59 overall selection. That said, the wideout should be highly motivated to silence his doubters and prove worthy of prominent reps in some capacity.

Sometimes, a fresh set of eyes and ideas make all the difference. Canales' enthusiasm is rubbing off positively on players and coaches alike. If it adds a little extra motivation to Marshall's mindset, the better his chances will be.

Nobody is getting carried away. Any contribution Marshall can make would be a bonus. Just don't bank on that coming to fruition just yet.