The Carolina Panthers passing offense was ranked in the bottom half of the league in 2014. They averaged only 219.4 passing yards per game and 21.2 points per game. The Panthers passing offense struggled because of the lack of quality receivers, and the ever reliable running game. The offense being one dimensional wasn't a problem until the Panthers lost to the Seattle Seahawks 31-17 in in the NFC Divisional Playoff game.
Going into the NFL Draft the Panthers knew that Cam Newton needed a true number two wide receiver. So what did Carolina Panthers GM Dave Gettleman do? Gettleman and the Carolina Panthers selected wide receiver Devin Funchess out of Michigan University with their 41st pick in the NFL Draft. This prospect was so important that they moved up 16 spots just to draft him. I am a Michigan fan so I am going to give Devin Funchess the nickname "Big Blue".
Positive Impact: Touchdowns and Mismatch
According to NFL.com, Devin Funchess is a 6’4” 232 lb. wide receiver. He has a big catch radius and can create mismatches with his size, especially in the red zone. Also Funchess has the ability to play all three receiver positions. He is so confident he can play all three positions that he said, “I was the only one I guess, because of what I can do. Most of the wideouts just play one position. I can play it all."
Because of his size, Funchess and star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin have earned the nickname “Vin Towers”. Benjamin is 6’5” 240 pounds and Funchess is 6’4” 230 pounds. Kelvin Benjamin used his size, strength, and wingspan to have a great rookie season by recording 73 receptions for 1,008 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns. Funchess might not be able to perform at the same high level just yet, but he will also use his size to make the play. Cam Newton’s touchdowns should increase this season because of the triple threat of Benjamin, Funchess, and Olsen. Funchess is not going to be Cam's number one or two option, but he will get a lot of looks in the red zone.
Negative Impact: Not Reliable and Lack of Speed
Devin is not the speedy and reliable wide receiver that Panther Nation was hoping for from the NFL Draft. I saw tons of mock drafts and his name was never mentioned with the Carolina Panthers. The downside of Funchess is his lack of speed because of his 4.75 40 yard dash. Also he doesn't have the most reliable hands, because he had an 8.8 percent (8.3 NCAA Average) drop rate in college.
My Prediction: 720 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns
My Recommendation: Don't waste any early fantasy football draft picks on Devin Funchess, because it is looking like he will be Cam Newton’s third option. I was able to draft Kelvin Benjamin last season with my second to last pick, and I still think that you will be able to do the same with Funchess. The only way I see you not being able to get Funchess later on, is if you have other Panthers fans in your league. If you end up drafting Funchess stash him on your bench until he performs consistently at a high level.
Are you excited about the Carolina Panthers offense?
By, Justin Raymond
Follow Me On Twitter @JayRay19