2011 Panther Player Recap - WR Brandon LaFell

Today I'm going to take a look at the 2010 third round pick out of LSU, Wide Receiver Brandon LaFell. This was an interesting year to say the least, with 2010 breakout David Gettis getting put on Injured Reserve during training camp. The team lacked a consensus number 2 receiver, and the signing of Legedu Naanee didn't help LaFell's chances. One might say this was a big year for him, while others might say he lacks what it takes to be a number 2 receiver. I will start by breaking down his stats for the year:


Receiving Kickoff Returns Punt Returns
G Rec Yds Y/G AVG Lng TD KR YDS AVG Lng TD PR Yds Avg Lng TD
15 36 613 40.9 17.0 91 3 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

The big stat that catches my eye is Receptions of 20+ yards. He had 13, which is a 3rd of his total receptions. Statistically speaking, LaFell showed ability to make catches downfield, which is a major part of the Chudzinski offense. Another big number, zero fumbles. Turnovers hurt us badly this year, its good to see a player who didn't shoot himself in the foot.

We've got more stats and season highlights for LaFell...after the jump...

In addition, according to FootballOutsiders.com, Brandon Lafell caught 71% of passes thrown to him (stats were taken week 1-13). Want to know Steve Smith's catch percentage? 59%, I'd say its hard to argue that Lafell isn't becoming a possession receiver. Cd77cc6f88614949af68876bec05c603--nfl_large_580_unlimited_medium

Season Highlights:

1. I'm sure many of you remember LaFell's beautiful catch to start off a wild game against Green Bay. Good throw by Cam, even better catch by LaFell as he managed to keep both feet in and give us our first score. He also had a clutch 3rd down catch in the fourth quarter to keep our hopes alive for the big upset.

2. Brandon LaFell gets wide open in the endzone against the Redskins on a quick out, putting the Panthers up by 17 and sealing the win.

3. Brandon LaFell makes the 44 yard reception on 4th and 14 against the Vikings in the fourth quarter for yet another game with a wild (yet painful) finish.

4. Of course, we all will remember the 91 yard reception for a score against the Bucs. Longest in franchise history, and credit to Steve Smith with 3 blocks on the run.

Fantasy Side:

Brandon LaFell was a very tempting fantasy pickup for deeper leagues. He usually caught long passes if he made catches, however with Steve Smith and the two tight ends also getting open, LaFell wasn't a very good option. Look for LaFell to become more of a factor next year with a full offseason and a quarterback with a full season under his belt. Even with an offseason working with Cam Newton I think the best case scenario for LaFell is a late round flyer in the hopes he becomes a decent bye week replacement.

Nicknames:

Lafell doesn't really have a nickname yet. I don't see him leaving any time soon, so its time we make some. Check the poll for a few suggestions or make some in the comments!

Conclusion:

Brandon LaFell is on point to become the Panthers' number 2 receiver, provided that the front office is content with what we have in the receiving core. Lafell is a big guy with a bright future, and has developed quite a rapport with Cam as his go-to-guy in the clutch. The only way I see that changing in 2012 is if a player like Justin Blackmon falls to the Panthers in the 1st or maybe another prospect with a 1st round grade falls to the 2nd.

-C2SAD (Credit to ValleyThunder35 for the highlight video!)

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