It's Not You Depth Chart, It's Me: A Carolina Panthers WR Tale

Stephen Hill is the next WR slated to be selected in the 1st round who has a visit planned with the Carolina Panthers. (Photo courtesy of the National Football Post)

While vacationing in Australia earlier this year I went to the zoo and got to witness the subtlety of a ten-ton elephant first hand. ***Spoilers: They're not very graceful***

So too have the Carolina Panthers been trying to tiptoe around the issue of the WR corps, being very complimentary of the current group, while quietly looking like an organization scrambling to find an upgrade at the position. If you hate the idea of taking a WR early then so be it. You probably also thought this line by Marty Hurney a year ago was 'smokescreen' too:

"You look at the history of rookie quarterbacks, and it's really unfair to expect a quarterback to go in and have a lot of success as a rookie,"

It wasn't too unfair, however, to work out Cam Newton, vet him, and replace Clausen post-haste; it was the right move. What is unfair is to lump Brandon LaFell and the rest of the receivers in with Jimmy Clausen, but the organization making no bones about ensuring they've looked at every top receiver in this draft. Could it be 'due diligence'? Perhaps, though it's funny this fastidiousness applies to the WR position, and not the one where you have two starters recovering from ACL tears (LB).

More after the jump

Yesterday Tony Pauline dropped another Panthers' visit on us:

Come on down Mr. Hill, you're the next 1st round WR to be scouted by the Panthers!

Okay, that was a little on the nose- but it's really pretty uncanny how much work Carolina are putting into the position given how much they're telling the world they love their talent. Here are the top 10 WR's matched up against the top 10 DT's (a position most fans think is dire). Information is what I have found/gathered regarding interest.

Name Position Visited Charlotte Interviewed at combine Position coaches attended pro-day
Justin Blackmon WR Yes Yes Yes
Michael Brockers DT Yes Yes No
Michael Floyd WR Yes Yes No
Fletcher Cox DT Yes No No
Kendall Wright WR Yes Yes Yes
Dontari Poe DT Yes No No
Stephen Hill WR Yes No Yes
Devon Still DT No No No
Mohamad Sanu WR No Yes No
Jerel Worthy DT Yes Yes No
Devon Wylie WR No Yes Yes
Brandon Thompson DT No No Yes
Joe Adams WR No No Yes
Kendall Reyes DT No No No
Jarius Wright WR No No No
Alameda Ta'amu DT No Yes No
Marvin Jones WR No Yes No
Jared Crick DT No No Yes
Reuben Randle WR Yes Yes No
Mike Martin DT No No No

Take it for what you will, but here's the final tally:

WRs: 5 team visits, 7 interviews in Indianapolis, 5 significant position coaches at combine

DTs: 4 team visits, 3 interviews in Indianapolis, 2 significant position coaches at combine

It's important to distinguish that some of these WRs like Joe Adams and Devon Wylie are almost certainly being looked at for special teams roles, rather than as starting WRs. However, I think you'll agree it's interesting nonetheless.

The organization are ensuring they have every possible based covered for every scenario at WR, something we haven't seen at any other position. Sure, there's a cautionary tale about buying too heavily into draft rumors- but based on current stock here are the Panthers options at the WR position:

- If Blackmon slips to #9, they have him scouted.

- If Blackmon is gone, but Floyd is available, they have him scouted.

- If they trade back into the teens they have Kendall Wright scouted.

- If they trade back into the mid-twenties (or trade back up from the 2nd round) they have Stephen Hill and Reuben Randle scouted.

- If they wait to take a WR at the top of round two they have Joe Adams scouted.

They've essentially blanketed the WR position for every conceivable early outcome, in a way few positions have been evaluated. Personally, I'm still not enamored with the idea of taking a receiver early. This seems like a very deep draft at the position, with a lack of truly standout players. That being said, I can't deny that the organization are showing a lot of interest in receivers, with little reason to promulgate this much smoke screen. Odd interest here or there? Sure, I'll buy subterfuge; scout the entire freakin' class? Not so much.

I'm just glad this will all be explained in twelve days/

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