- David Newton, ESPN Staff Writer
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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.
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.