Panthers expected to fill need at receiver early in draft

Posted April 09, 2010 @ 12:41 p.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

WR Steve Smith recently said he'd like the Panthers to find a younger receiver that could eventually take his spot as Carolina's go-to weapon, and there is plenty of buzz suggesting the team will use its top pick — No. 48 overall — on a pass catcher at this year's draft. GM Marty Hurney has failed to find a young complementary receiver to pair with Smith in his tenure and it long has been a glaring need. Carolina used a second-round pick on Dwayne Jarrett in 2007, but he has yet to become a productive pro.

Despite being the lone weapon in the aerial attack, Smith has led the Panthers in touchdown catches in five consecutive seasons. He has accounted for 40 of the team's 94 touchdown receptions over the span. Smith, who turns 31 in May and is signed through the 2012 campaign, won't be losing his spot on the depth chart anytime soon, but adding another threat at receiver could give the Panthers' passing game a much-needed jolt.

For the most authoritative NFL draft news and free-agency analysis, visit