Panthers HC Ron Rivera told reporters on Wednesday that they will be drafting a receiver this May, per Joe Person.
- Rivera mentioned that they need to replace a collective 10 catches per game from their previous group of receivers.
“I don’t think you need to have a guy like Detroit’s — Calvin Johnson,” Rivera said, Joe Person.
As for the topic of Steve Smith’s release, Rivera mentioned that the team felt it was just time to move on.
“Steve will still find ways to make plays,” Rivera said, via the Charlotte Observer. “And as far as football decisions go, we have to move on eventually. This was an opportunity to do it.”
Carolina holds the No. 28 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, so there is a decent enough chance that they could target a receiver in the first round.
It seems very unlikely that they will have a shot either Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans at that point in the draft. However, guys like Brandin Cooks, Marqise Lee, Kelvin Benjamin and Odell Beckam Jr could still be on the board by the time the Panthers are on the clock.
This year’s class of receiver prospects is widely considered to be very deep, the Panthers could always draft a different position in round one, and then grab a receiver at a later point.