CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- No. 7 in my ranking and evaluation of the 21 Carolina Panthers scheduled to become unrestricted free agents is a player who is a threat on offense and special teams.
Wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr.
Ginn was signed to a one-year deal primarily as a kick return specialist, but proved he still can be a threat as a receiver.
To rehash the rankings so far:
No. 21 quarterback Jimmy Clausen, No. 20 wide receiver Brandon LaFell, No. 19 cornerback Drayton Florence, No. 18 guard Geoff Hangartner, No. 17 linebacker Dan Connor, No. 16 linebacker Jason Williams, No. 15 tackle Bruce Campbell, No. 14 cornerback James Dockery, No. 13 defensive tackle Colin Cole, No. 12 guard Travelle Wharton, No. 11 linebacker Jordan Senn, No. 10 quarterback Derek Anderson, No. 9 cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and No. 8 wide receiver Domenik Hixon.
On to No 7:
Ted Ginn Jr.: It was interesting. Although Steve Smith was on the field, quarterback Cam Newton said San Francisco was paying more attention to Ginn Jr. than any other receiver in the second half of a 23-10 NFC divisional playoff loss to the 49ers. Ginn's ability to stretch the field with the speed that makes him such a threat as a kick returner opened a lot of eyes. He caught 36 passes for 556 yards and five touchdowns. He also was among the league leaders in punt returns with an average of 12.2 yards. He reminds me of Rocket Ismail, a returner who emerged as a receiving threat for Carolina with 36 catches in 1997. Ismail followed that with 69 and 80 catches the following two seasons. Newton needs weapons like this to make him more effective as a passer and runner, the latter because teams can't keep the safeties in tight to stop him. That Ginn Jr. likes the organization and -- as I've said with several in my ranking -- won't demand a high dollar -- makes him worthy of strong consideration for another deal.