Stephen Hill was in tight roster battle before drug paraphernalia citation

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Stephen Hill was in a tight battle for the fifth or sixth wide receiver spot with the Carolina Panthers before being cited for possession of drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop on Tuesday.

It will be interesting to see how the citation impacts his future with the team.

According to the arrest report, Hill knowingly possessed drug paraphernalia -- two grinders with marijuana residue and a marijuana bowl -- with intent to use.

The Panthers have given second chances to players with marijuana-related issues in the past. Defensive end Frank Alexander was suspended for the first 14 games last season for twice failing the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Alexander will be among the contenders for the every-down starting job opposite Charles Johnson when the Panthers report to training camp on Thursday at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

He understands this might his last chance.

This also could be Hill's last chance. A second-round pick out of Georgia Tech in 2012, Hill spent last season on Carolina's practice squad after being released by the New York Jets at the end of training camp.

While he impressed the Panthers coaching staff enough during offseason workouts to get into the conversation, he is far from a lock to make the 53-man roster.

Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, Corey Brown, Ted Ginn Jr. and Jerricho Cotchery are solid to be among the six receivers Carolina keeps.

Then it comes down to Hill, Brenton Bersin and Jarrett Boykin. The coaching staff really likes Bersin, who made the roster last season and has been dependable.

Boykin was signed as a free agent from Green Bay. He had 49 catches for 681 yards two years ago.

Hill had a history of dropped passes and overall inconsistency that led him to being cut by the Jets and kept him from cracking Carolina's roster last season.

Tuesday's citation doesn't look good two days before the beginning of camp.