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Position preview: Wide receivers

Posted Jul 11, 2014

No position group endured more change during the offseason than the wide receivers.

The top four from last season moved on to new teams, opening the door for a host of young wideouts – namely first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin – eager to make their mark. In light of the dramatic turnover at the position, productive veterans Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant were signed to set the tone and lead the largely inexperienced group into 2014.

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Jerricho Cotchery
Played in every game and led the Pittsburgh Steelers with career-high 10 touchdowns on 46 catches for 602 yards in 2013. ... Signed with Carolina as an unrestricted free agent this offseason after three years in Pittsburgh. ... Spent first seven years of career with New York Jets. ...  Career totals include 437 receptions, 5,558 receiving yards and 30 touchdowns.

Jason Avant
Played in every game with career-high 13 starts for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013, recording 38 receptions for 447 yards and two touchdowns. ... Signed with Carolina as an unrestricted free agent this offseason after spending first eight years with Philadelphia. ... Career totals include 297 receptions, 3,646 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.

Tiquan Underwood
Played in 12 games with a career-high seven starts for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013. ... Recorded career highs of 440 yards and four touchdowns on 24 catches. ... Signed with Carolina as an unrestricted free agent as he enters his sixth season.

RETURNERS

Kealoha Pilares
Spent entire 2013 season on injured reserve after tearing right anterior cruciate ligament during preseason. ... Played in eight games in 2012 before being placed on injured reserve with right shoulder injury. ... Former fifth-round draft choice in 2011 has two career receptions for 42 yards and one touchdown.

Toney Clemons
Signed to Carolina practice squad during 2013 season and signed as free agent in the offseason. ... Played in four games for Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012, recording three catches for 41 yards. ... Played in 25 games for Colorado after transferring from Michigan and totaled 86 catches for 1,162 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Marvin McNutt
Signed as a free agent off the Miami Dolphins' practice squad and played in one game for Panthers in 2013. ... Drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the sixth round in 2012 and played in four games. ... Finished career at Iowa ranked first in school history with 2,861 receiving yards and 28 receiving touchdowns and second with 170 receptions.

Tavarres King
Claimed off waivers by Carolina from Denver and was inactive for 10 games for the Panthers. ... Former Georgia Bulldog drafted in the fifth round by Denver in 2013. ... Played in school-record 56 games with 39 starts, recording 136 catches for 2,602 yards.

Brenton Bersin
Signed as a free agent after attending the team's rookie minicamp as a tryout player. ... Former Wofford Terrier spent the entire 2013 season on practice squad. ... Finished college career with 77 catches for 1,567 yards and 15 touchdowns.

De'Andre Presley
Signed to Carolina practice squad early in 2013 season and signed as free agent this offseason. ... Played in four games for Dolphins in 2012 in between two stints on the Miami practice squad. ... Played in 45 games at Appalachian State, lining up at quarterback, wide receiver and cornerback in addition to returning punts and kicks.

ROOKIES

Kelvin Benjamin
First-round draft choice expected to make instant impact with rare size and athletic ability. ... Played in 28 games with 14 starts at Florida State and entered NFL after recording game-winning touchdown catch in BCS National Championship as a sophomore. ... Finished college career with 84 receptions for 1,506 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Philly Brown
Signed as an undrafted free agent after playing in 48 games with 35 starts at Ohio State. ... Speedster compiled 145 catches for 1,750 yards and 15 touchdowns and led or tied for team lead in receptions three times. ... Returned 47 punts for 460 yards and two touchdowns and two kickoffs for 44 yards

Marcus Lucas
Signed as an undrafted free agent after playing in 49 games with 23 starts at Missouri. ... Big target finished career with 130 receptions for 1,638 yards and 11 touchdowns.