SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Every wide receiver who returned from last year's team has echoed the same sentiment: The competition for spots has increased.
"Our position group this year has way more competition than last year," wide receiver Brenton Bersin said.
That's a good thing for the Panthers. But it means every rep is magnified for wideouts further down the depth chart.
"You have your locks like Kelvin (Benjamin), who is the No.1," Bersin explained. "You've got Philly (Brown), Ted (Ginn, Jr.) and (Devin) Funchess, who got drafted in the second round. Cotch (Jerricho Cotchery) is a vet. We have a lot of people in the room that you could say are locks to make the team. So there are not that many spots left after that. You have to compete with all the other guys they brought in. It will be a good camp and preseason."
One of those competitors is Jarrett Boykin, who joined the team as a free agent this offseason after three years in Green Bay with the Packers. After a relatively quiet offseason, Boykin has been a steady target thus far in training camp.
"It's been everything I expected with the competition and the heat," Boykin said. "I'm just trying to bring my absolute best."
The Panthers' picture at wide receiver changed a bit when Stephen Hill was waived/injured with an anterior cruciate ligament tear, and that was a tough thing to see for all of Hill's fellow receivers.
"You never want to see someone get hurt, especially a friend like Stephen. Losing a guy like that does not help our team," Bersin said.
But Bersin and Boykin both know the competition will roll on.
"The next man up – it can be anybody," Boykin said. "That's what the camp and the competition brings, and we'll see what happens."