The Carolina Panthers are scouring the wide receiver market in the 2014 NFL Draft class, and there’s no doubt that it’s an incredibly deep one. Some of the top prospects on their list seem to include Davante Adams, Marqise Lee, and Brandin Cooks, and it will be interesting to see how many wide receivers they pick up after losing Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, and Ted Ginn Jr. this offseason with only veterans Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant as noteworthy replacement. I would be surprised if they take more or less than two wide receivers, and we’ll see if they can pluck one of the top receivers (like Lee or Cooks) with the 28th overall pick.
One of the draft’s most polarizing wide receiver prospects is Colorado Buffaloes wideout Paul Richardson, who has a great variety of evaluations from draft analysts. Some believe he could be the next DeSean Jackson and is worth a second-round pick due to his playmaking ability, whereas others believe he is too raw and should only be taken with a fourth or fifth-round pick.
According to draft insider Tony Pauline, the Carolina Panthers are working out Richardson today, and he looks like a strong option for them in the third or fourth-round of the draft. He has the kind of playmaking ability that they lost when Ginn Jr. signed with the Arizona Cardinals, and I think he’s worth the price despite his drops and inconsistent route-running. Richardson has holes in this game, but he has high upside due to his speed and release off of the line of scrimmage. His ability to play the deep ball and get open could be the two things that define his success in the NFL, but his boom-or-bust status is worth it in the mid-rounds; I’d expect the Panthers to target him as a potential pick in the third.