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Ricky Proehl: Panthers have 'every weapon' at WR

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At this time a year ago, Carolina Panthers wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl didn't have a single player under his watch who had caught a pass from Cam Newton in game action.

Now?

"Oh, my god! It's unbelievable a difference a year a makes," Proehl said last week, via ESPN.com's David Newton. "We've got every weapon in our arsenal."

It's an interesting claim from Proehl, who was forced to rely on a physically overmatched Brenton Bersin at times last season.

Let's take a closer look at Proehl's new and improved wide receiver corps:

True No. 1 receiver? Check.

As a rookie, Kelvin Benjamin consistently moved the chains and made plays in the red zone against the likes of Richard Sherman, Patrick Peterson, Keenan Lewis, Desmond Trufant and Jimmy Smith -- a murderer's row of cornerbacks.

Size? Check.

In addition to the monstrous 6-foot-5, 240-pound Benjamin, the Panthers now have 6-foot-4, 230-pound rookie Devin Funchess, 6-foot-5 former Jets draft bust Stephen Hill and 6-foot-5 Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen.

Possession receiver? Check.

Jerricho Cotchery is one of the league's savviest possession receivers, finding holes in defenses and hanging on to the ball in tight spaces. Former Packers wideout Jarrett Boykin is essentially a poor man's Cotchery. And again, Benjamin qualifies. He might drop a few easy passes, but his immense catch radius and physicality serve him well on contested catches.

Speed? There's the rub.

Are the Panthers sacrificing speed to load up on behemoth wideouts with the huge strike zones needed to reel in Cam Newton's often scattershot passes? It sure seems that way on the surface.

The coaches point to Hill, Ted Ginn and Corey Brown (formerly known as Philly Brown) as the speed element in their aerial attack. All three are capable of blazing 40-yard dash times under 4.40. The question is whether that speed will go to waste on the sideline with Benjamin, Cotchery and Funchess hogging the majority of the snaps.

No matter how the depth chart shakes out, the Panthers will be forced to jettison a talented player or three this summer. That's a major turnaround from last August, when they were scanning the waiver wire for other teams' castoffs.

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