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Panthers have plethora of return options


Who do you think will return kickoffs this year for the Panthers? We have so many talented return men now it's crazy. – Andrew in Murfreesboro, N.C.

That is, as they say, a good problem to have.

On March 22, the Panthers signed Ted Ginn, one of the most accomplished returners in the game. The speedster has a 23.2-yard career average on kickoff returns with three touchdowns. He's a threat to take it the distance every time he touches the ball. The Panthers also return Kealoha Pilares, who paced the team with a 24.0-yard average last season before a shoulder injury sidelined him and who ranked fifth in the NFC with a 25.7-yard average as a rookie in 2011.

In addition, Carolina has three other potential return men that possess some serious potential. Wide receivers Joe Adams and Armanti Edwards and running back Armond Smith all showed flashes last season, all averaging more than 21 yards a return.

Ginn has to be considered the leader in the clubhouse, with more return yards than the rest of the candidates combined, but he will be pushed.

Is there a good wide receiver we can get in the second round of the draft? If so, who? – Anthony in Greeneville, S.C.

It's easy to get caught up (no pun intended) in the first round of the draft, and lots of fans are fired up about the possibility of the Panthers perhaps being the first team to draft a wide receiver when they pick at No. 14. If they were to go that route, Cordarrelle Patterson from Tennessee and Tavon Austin from West Virginia are the hot names right now.

If, however, the Panthers pass on pass-catchers the first time around, there could be a number of tempting prospects still on the board in the second round. Local Panthers fans know all about former Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins and his 18 touchdowns last season. Quinton Patton (Louisiana Tech), Keenan Allen (California) and Terrance Williams (Baylor) also are names of note, and both Tennessee (Justin Hunter) and West Virginia (Stedman Bailey) can claim more than one top-flight receiving prospect. staff writer Max Henson will take a closer look at the position group next week as our draft preview coverage continues.

Hey Bryan, why aren't the Panthers considering cornerback David Amerson from N.C. State? He has amazing ball skills, plus he has the versatility to play safety if need be. – Matt in Knoxville, Tenn.

Maybe the Panthers are considering him. Or maybe not. Amerson is one of the more difficult prospects to project going into the draft given the memorable season he enjoyed in 2011 and the forgettable season he endured in 2012. Is he the guy that made countless remarkable plays two years ago or the guy who had too many big plays made at his expense last year? Here's a closer look at Amerson that we recently posted at

Why does it take so long for a player to go from "agreed" to "signed", like in the cases of Chase Blackburn and Dwan Edwards for example. – Joshua in Colorado Springs, Col.

During the NFL's free agency period, media outlets sometimes report that a player has "agreed to terms" with a team, often citing anonymous sources. But the player doesn't officially become a member of the team until he physically signs a contract and the team records the transaction with the NFL. The agreement and the signing process sometimes happen in close proximity to one another, but often, there are still details to be worked out following the initial agreement. Sometimes, the player might be out of town and not in position to sign on the dotted line. Other times, the parties have more accurately "agreed in principle" than "agreed to terms" because there are still facets of the player contract to be settled.

When will they post the schedule for the 2013 season? We are planning on visiting my sister on Oct. 5 and are hoping there will be a home game on Oct. 6. – Andrea in Tuscarawas, Ohio

If history is any indication, we're less than two weeks from finding out the 2013 NFL schedule. This officially means nothing for your planning purposes, but your visit will fall during Week 5, and the Panthers have played at home in Week 5 each of the last three seasons.

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