Carolina Panthers: Pressure is on Devin Funchess to be top receiver

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 10: Devin Funchess #17 of the Carolina Panthers reacts after a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in the third quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 10, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 10: Devin Funchess #17 of the Carolina Panthers reacts after a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in the third quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 10, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Entering training camp, pressure will be on Carolina Panthers’ wide receiver Devin Funchess to produce like the number one wide receiver in this offense.

The Carolina Panthers made it very clear halfway through the season last year that they believe Devin Funchess can be the number one wide receiver in this offense. The team was able to move Kelvin Benjamin in a trade with the Buffalo Bills, which opened the door for Funchess to be that top guy.

Now that training camp is around the corner, the question is whether or not Funchess can produce like a number one wide receiver in 2018.

The fourth-year pass catcher had a career year last season and finished with 63 receptions, 113 targets, 840 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns. It was a tale of two seasons for Funchess though with eight games with Benjamin and eight without.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that his yards and touchdowns went up after Benjamin left however those totals increase with receptions and targets dropping on a per game basis. Funchess was actually able to do more with less which helped the offense as a whole work more efficiently.

2018 season

GamesReceptionsTargetsReceiving YardsTouchdowns
With Kelvin Benjamin84.1257.2544.6250.375
Without Kelvin Benjamin83.756.62560.3750.625

*all stats per game

This is certainly a big year for Funchess because it is also a contract year and with a strong season he should be able to secure a big contract for himself, either in Carolina or another team in the NFL.

The good news for him is that Norv Turner is now the signal caller for this Panthers’ offense. He has been in this league for over two decades and has had success running offenses in this league. He has helped players like Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson and Josh Gordon all have career years in his offense, as Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer notes in her article.

Next: Free agents that could interest the Panthers

There is certainly a lot of pressure on Devin Funchess heading into the 2018 season. However if his performance after Kelvin Benjamin left and Norv Turner’s track record, he should be able to surpass his career year from last year.