The Carolina Panthers moves this offseason have left the team with limited receiving options a year after making the playoffs. However, coach Ron Rivera doesn't think that's the teams biggest problem.
“I think protecting [quarterback Cam Newton]...You have so many opportunities to get playmakers on the field. Other than the quarterback there are five other guys who can make plays for you. I think right now what we’ve done is bring in guys who have the ability to make plays for us. I feel very comfortable with that.” Rivera told the media.
Whilst fans have been mourning the loss of veteran receiver Steve Smith to the Baltimore Ravens, Rivera has brought in Jericho Cotchery and Tiquan Underwood as those comfortable options.
However, Cotchery is a journeyman receiver who has not made more than 50 receptions since 2009. Meanwhile, Underwood has made only 63 receptions during his four year NFL career.
As good as Cam Newton was last season, it seems unlikely that he will be able to replicate that with significantly less ability at the receiving positions. Of course, the draft is deep at the receiving positions and its possible that Rivera could find a hidden gem or two in the latter rounds of the draft in addition to a top level lineman.
Panthers fans will be hoping that the promising team do not fall into the trap of relying on a good quarterback without investing heavily in weapons for him to deliver.