Panthers mailbag: No. 1 receiver?

June, 21, 2014
Jun 21
8:00
AM ET
By the time you read this, I'll be under a palm tree somewhere far away sipping on some sort of fruity drink in a funky shaped container with umbrellas.

My mind probably won't be on football. But it was before I left, and here's the answers to a few questions you had concerning the Carolina Panthers:

@DNewtonESPN: From a raw talent perspective, there's no doubt first-round draft pick Kelvin Benjamin is No. 1. He made some catches during organized team activities and last week's minicamp that left your jaw hanging on the turf. Rookie wide receivers tend to struggle. Benjamin will go through some of that, but his size (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) makes him a top target for quarterback Cam Newton. Whether the team calls him the No. 1 receiver isn't important. This will be a ball control offense, and in Benjamin and veterans Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant they have three solid ball control receivers. They also have three tight ends -- Greg Olsen, Ed Dickson and (this may surprise you) Brandon Williams -- who will be receiving threats. It's not about being No. 1 as much as it is having six or seven players capable of making plays. The Panthers appear to have that. If you ask me, and I've said this many times recently, they're more talented at receiver than they were a year ago. @DNewtonESPN: Yes and yes. Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy was on the radar as a late first-round to early second-round pick. When he was there at No. 60 the Panthers felt lucky to get him just as they were with Star Lotulelei in the first round a year earlier. And yes, Ealy can make an immediate impact. He is a lot like Greg Hardy in that he can play end and tackle. I can see the Panthers using a combination of Hardy, Ealy, Lotulelei and Charles Johnson at times. That should put a lot of pressure on quarterbacks. And remember, the Panthers led the league with 60 sacks without Ealy. @DNewtonESPN: You need to look at this in a more positive way. Yes, the contracts of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams make them virtually untradeable and uncuttable until after the 2015 season. But Williams looks like he still has some gas in the tank and Stewart appears healthy for the first time in three years. While asking them to recreate "Double Trouble" and both be 1,000 yard rushers might be asking a lot, there are a lot of teams that would love to have one or both on their roster. Maybe not for the price they are being paid, but the talent is still there.

@DNewtonespn Do you think Williams can contribute in our offense this upcoming season? #PanthersMailbag

— Edward Myers (@edwardmyersNFL) June 18, 2014 https://twitter.com/edwardmyersNFL/statuses/479245025646112768 @DNewtonESPN: Definitely. It'll be hard getting him on the field ahead of Olsen and Dickson, two proven tight ends that can catch. But Williams has been one of the players I've mentioned during OTAs and minicamp that has stood out. He's has good hands and with his size (6-4, 250 pounds), Williams is almost like another wide receiver out there. I fully expect him to be on the 53-player roster after final cuts. Wouldn't surprise me if he caught a touchdown or two this year. 

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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