Through the first three years of his career, Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel has displayed flashes of his ability to become a reliable target in the passing game. However, he hasn't come close to fully hitting his extremely high potential.
Samuel has the tools to not just be a solid starting receiver, but a star in the league and recognized as one of the elites. Part of what has hindered him has been the revolving door of quarterback. Cam Newton being injured in back-to-back seasons, Kyle Allen being inconsistent, and Will Grier being thrusted into a very challenging situation was all detrimental to Samuel's overall production. But will a healthy quarterback solve all of Samuel's problems?
The addition of Robby Anderson could take away from the amount of targets that Samuel would have received initially. In some way, they are essentially the same receiver and Anderson has proven to be more dependable, at least to this point of their respective careers. Fighting for looks in the passing game could hurt Samuel, but in the end, I think having Anderson on the roster will be beneficial to him. He will be able to model his game after Anderson and having another guy that opposing defenses will have to pay attention to could take some focus, but not all, away from Samuel.
The biggest question mark heading into the 2020 season is whether or not the Panthers should renew his contract at the conclusion of the season. His rookie deal will expire and it could be a tough decision for the front office to make if his production level either drops off or stays about the same. In a contract year, players typically play above their usual expectations in order to earn that big contract. Could this be something that turns into a distraction for Samuel? No one knows, but I don't see it being a problem for him.
If Samuel can turn it up a notch and hit on all cylinders, it makes the Panthers offense that much more dynamic. It would give them two legitimate No. 1 receivers, along with D.J. Moore, and arguably the best running back in the game - Christian McCaffrey.
Samuel has the speed, hands, IQ, footwork, route running, and every other tool needed to be an elite guy, but will he bust through that potential in 2020? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
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