CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Continuing my look at your questions following the first week of Phase 3 of the Carolina Panthers offseason program:
@DNewtonESPN: The dynamics are completely different at wide receiver now, so it's hard to tell. Ted Ginn Jr. was the speed option after Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell in 2013. His 36 catches for 556 yards and five touchdowns really came out of nowhere after Ginn had a combined for 33 catches the three previous seasons at San Francisco. It also showed just how thin Carolina was at the position. Quarterback Cam Newton has a lot more quality options this season in wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess, as well as tight ends Greg Olsen and Ed Dickson. Remember, Dickson started to produce toward the end of last season. And don't forget Corey Brown, who became the go-to speed guy last season, and Stephen Hill. Ginn's biggest value will be as a kick returner. The Panthers were dreadful there last season with an average of 8.0 yards a punt return between Brown and Brenton Bersin. If Ginn can duplicate the 12.2 yards a return he had at Carolina in 2013, management would be quite happy.
@DNewtonESPN: It's really hard to turn heads in organized team activities since players aren't in pads and can't really show their potential as pass-rushers and run-stoppers. This is more about getting down fundamentals and learning. If anybody truly turns heads it likely will come from the secondary with interceptions and batted-down passes. I'm curious to see how Garry Peters (he missed Thursday's practice with a hamstring injury), the undrafted rookie out of Clemson, performs. He has the size and skills the Panthers are looking for at cornerback. He would be my darkhorse to challenge for playing time. I'm also curious to see how strong safety Kurt Coleman works his way into the mix. Unfortunately, first-round pick Shaq Thompson remains in school at Washington, so we won't get a chance to see how he fits in at linebacker until a June 16-18 mini-camp.
@DNewtonESPN: Running back is pretty simple. Jonathan Stewart will be the starter, and likely followed by fifth-round draft pick Cameron Artis-Payne. The Panthers really are high on Artis-Payne, who led the SEC in rushing last season. After that you'll see Fozzy Whittaker and undrafted rookie Brandon Wegher battling for time. Darrin Reaves looks like he could be the odd man out. As for wide receiver, it's too early to tell. I'm still not sure where Hill fits in. If I had to pick an order now, it would be Benjamin, Funchess, Ginn., Brown, Jerricho Cotchery, Hill and Jarrett Boykin. And anything after the top two is just an educated guess.
@DNewtonESPN: There will be changes on the lower end of the roster as there typically are, particularly when other teams start releasing players. But I don't see anybody significant enough to become a starter or even second team being signed.
@DNewtonESPN: I look at Coleman more as a strong safety spelling Roman Harper. He had his strongest season at strong safety for Philadelphia in 2011. In 13 starts he had four interceptions and a forced fumble. He's shown good ability at coming up as support against the run. You might consider this an audition to possibly replace Harper, 32, after his contract expires following this season.