Wake's Campanaro could help Panthers

We take this break from the Carolina Panthers' search for wide receivers in free agency to look at a potential candidate in the NFL draft.

Meet Wake Forest wide receiver Michael Campanaro.

While Carolina entertained Pittsburgh Steelers free-agent wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery on Monday, other members of the staff were just up the interstate looking at the Demon Deacons' all-time leading receiver at NFL pro day.

Campanaro (5-foot-9, 192 pounds) isn't among the top tier receivers in the draft. He's likely a middle-round pick.

But after posting a time of 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash last month at the NFL combine in Indianapolis, he's starting to turn a few more heads. Carolina already was aware of him because of his connection with wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl, a former Wake Forest star.

Campanaro told Panthers.com during the combine that he's a combination of Proehl, a great route-runner, and Steve Smith, Carolina's all-time leading receiver who was cut last week.

Campanaro caught 67 passes for 803 yards and six touchdowns last season despite missing the final three games with a broken collarbone.

He finished his college career with a school-record 229 catches for 2,506 yards and 14 touchdowns. Proehl had 188 catches for a school-record 2,949 yards and 25 touchdowns at Wake.

So as the Panthers attempt to rebuild their receiving corps from scratch after cutting Smith and losing Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr., and Domenik Hixon in free agency, keep an eye on Campanaro.

He could be a good complementary player if the Panthers can sign a couple of veterans and draft what coach Ron Rivera has called a dynamic receiver in the first two rounds.

The Panthers already are talking to Cotchery as mentioned above, and Green Bay free agent James Jones told ESPN's Josina Anderson on Sunday he would "love to play with'' quarterback Cam Newton.

Stay tuned.