WIDE RECEIVERS PREVIEW: A knee injury ended Kelvin Benjamin's 2015 season before it even got started, and everyone is eager to see Carolina's No. 1 wideout back in action. Veteran Ted Ginn, Jr. returns after leading the team with 10 touchdown receptions – easily the most productive year of his career. Youngsters Devin Funchess and Philly Brown were valuable contributors in 2015 who only appear to be getting better.
1. How will Benjamin's return impact the offense?
Adding Benjamin to the NFL's highest scoring offense gives the Panthers reason to be giddy entering the new season. But it will be interesting to see how all of the talented pieces come together. As a rookie standout, Benjamin was a major focal point. He was targeted 146 times, giving him 68 more targets than Carolina's next closest wide receiver. A year later, the offense thrived with quarterback Cam Newton spreading the ball around effectively. Benjamin is a gifted playmaker who warrants a high number of targets, but Newton knows there are others who can be counted on.
2. How much better will Funchess be?
Funchess' rookie surge (five touchdowns in the last nine games) carried over into spring practices, and he's poised for a bigger role in his second year. It's clear Funchess is playing faster and with more confidence. Playing alongside Benjamin should give him plenty of favorable matchups and give the Panthers two physically imposing targets out wide.
3. Who makes the cut?
Carolina entered the 2015 season with five wide receivers on the 53-man roster. Narrowing the list to five will be a challenge in 2016. Beyond Benjamin, Funchess, Ginn and Brown, there are several intriguing candidates looking to earn a spot. There's Stephen Hill, who was on the rise before suffering a season-ending knee injury in training camp last year. There's Kevin Norwood, who Carolina acquired in a trade from Seattle at the end of last preseason. There's Brenton Bersin, a consistent performer who knows the system inside and out. There's Damiere Byrd, a speedster who impressed this spring after spending last year on the practice squad. And don't forget newcomers like rookie Keyarris Garrett, who came to the Panthers as an undrafted free agent. To say it will be competitive in Spartanburg is an understatement.
View photos of Carolina's wide receivers in action.