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Panthers vs Texans: Key position battle to watch - Wide Receivers

The Panthers face off with the Texans this Wednesday. Which wide receivers could make an impact for Carolina in the preseason opener?

The Carolina Panthers open up the 2017 preseason this Wednesday against the Houston Texans. Each week during preseason, we’ll take a look at key position battles for the Panthers. This week we take a look at the wide receiver position, where the lower end of of the depth chart is incredibly murky.

Panthers WR Depth Chart

WR1 WR2 Others
WR1 WR2 Others
Kelvin Benjamin Devin Funchess Keyarris Garrett
Brenton Bersin Russell Shepard Austin Duke
Damiere Byrd Curtis Samuel Kaelin Clay
Trevor Graham
Mose Frazier
Fred Ross
Depth chart courtesy of

If we are being honest with ourselves, we know that the top two receivers will be Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess, despite both having their respective frustrations. From there, things become less straightforward.

The next tier of receivers in camp includes a familiar face, as well as some new and intriguing options. The headliner is obviously YA BOI Brenton Bersin who has familiarity with the system (and will miss time this camp being fitted for his HoF jacket). This tier also includes rookie second round pick Curtis Samuel and free agent acquisition Russell Shepard. Samuel has yet to participate in camp, hampered by a finicky hamstring. Shepard on the other hand has participated and has been one of the more consistent receivers thus far.

The final tier contains the camp bodies, roster longshots and Damiere Byrd. Byrd is listed fairly high on the preliminary depth chart, and his versatility on Special Teams gives him a leg up, though he may still be on the outside looking in. Keyarris Garrett was last season’s camp superstar and has still shown some flashes. Austin Duke is this season’s version of Garrett and is making a pretty substantial case for a spot on the 53. Kaelin Clay, Trevor (TJ) Graham, and Mose Frazier don’t have the inside track on a roster spot but it will still be interesting to see how they perform on Wednesday night.

At the end of the preseason, the Panthers will probably end up carrying five WRs, maybe six. The five I see as most likely to don the black and electric blue this season are KB, Fun Fun, Shep, Samuel, and DA GOAT YA BOI Bersin. If the Panthers carry six wide outs, my money would be on Byrd taking that final spot. After that, Garrett and Duke seem like the most likely to land on the Practice Squad.

That being said, there are often some surprise cuts at some point. If that happens, who do you think will be cut and who will replace him on the roster?