The Carolina Panthers' offense in 2020 lacked a lot of things, but elite playmakers at the wide receiver position was not one of them. Carolina's trio of Robby Anderson, DJ Moore, and Curtis Samuel formed one of the best receiving corps in the league, and Panthers' fans are hoping they can keep that trio intact moving forward.
Overall Grade for the WRs: A-
For the first time in a really long time, the Panthers have multiple weapons in the passing game. Robby Anderson took his game to the next level, Curtis Samuel proved to be a reliable receiver, and DJ Moore can now be considered one of the most explosive playmakers in the game.
If there was one thing I would criticize about this group, it would have to be the red zone struggles. Now, not all of the blame should be placed on them but they struggled to haul in contested catches in the red zone and that hurt the Panthers' ability to end more drives with touchdowns. Carolina doesn't really have a big-bodied receiver on the roster that can go up and snatch 50/50 balls, so that's something that may be added prior to the start of next season.
Now, let's recap how each of the top three receivers for the Panthers did in 2020.
When he signed with the Panthers last offseason, many just saw him as a deep ball threat that could help take the top off the defense while DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel, and the others would do everything else underneath. If the 2020 season proved anything, it's that Robby Anderson is much more than just a home run threat. He worked all areas of the field, ran all kinds of routes, and emerged as one of the top receivers in the NFL.
He ended the year with 95 receptions for 1,096 yards and three touchdowns. Anderson is under contract with the Panthers for the 2021 season and if he has another big season, he could be in for a big payday next offseason.
Last season, DJ Moore crossed the 1,000-yard mark with Cam Newton, Kyle Allen, and Will Grier all throwing to him. Newton went out early in the season with an injury and toward the end of the year, interim coach Perry Fewell gave Grier a shot to start the final two games. To cross the 1,000-yard mark, under those circumstances, is pretty impressive.
This year, Moore proved that he is indeed one of the best in the game. He ended the season with 66 receptions for 1,193 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 18.1 yards per catch (3rd among all receivers).
Since Moore has been on a losing, small-market team he doesn't get the national respect that he deserves. Once the Panthers start winning more games, he will no longer fly under the radar.
In my opinion, Curtis Samuel had the most impressive season of any of the Panthers' skill players. He quickly became Teddy Bridgewater's security blanket hauling in clutch catch after clutch catch. Samuel finished with an absurd 79.4% catch percentage which was 3rd best in the league among receivers. The other two receivers in front of him were Isaiah McKenzie of the Bills and Keke Coutee of the Texans who both had significantly fewer targets than Samuel.
Not to mention, Samuel really stepped up big at running back from time to time when the Panthers lacked depth at the position due to injuries. He rushed for 200 yards and two touchdowns on 41 carries. His rookie contract has now come to an end and the Panthers are going to have to find a way to crunch some numbers and re-sign him, but that may end up being impossible.
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