Carolina Panthers should move Curtis Samuel to running back

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 24: Curtis Samuel #10 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against the New England Patriots in the second quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on August 24, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 24: Curtis Samuel #10 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against the New England Patriots in the second quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on August 24, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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The Carolina Panthers are waiting for Curtis Samuel to return to practice but when he does the team should move him to a new position.

The offense for the Carolina Panthers have a problem, a good problem, but a problem none the less. This team has too much depth at wide receiver.

This is certainly a drastic change from a few years ago when the Panthers were looking at wide receivers like Brenton Bersin and Philly Brown. However, with players like Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright, who is playing excellent to start the season out of the slot, it has created a log jam at the position.

This log jam has even kept first round pick D.J. Moore from seeing meaningful snaps, even though that may change as early as this week. This means snaps are at a premium and it will only get worse once Curtis Samuel returns from a reported heart procedure.

If the Panthers’ coaching staff wants to really utilize all of the playmakers this offense has to offer, the coaching staff should consider moving Samuel to running back.

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This would certainly be a radical shift for Samuel as he has not played running back in the NFL. However, he does have experience coming out of the backfield from his time at Ohio State. In the Buckeyes’ offense he played the H-back and his final season in college he finished with 97 carries for 771 rushing yards with eight touchdowns.

Now, this would not be an easy transition and the coaching staff would need to pick their spots during games when utilizing Samuel out of the backfield. The biggest challenge for the second-year player might be pass protection and picking up blitzes, which is a crucial aspect for running backs.

This would certainly be a risk as it is not common for wide receivers to move to running back, however it has been done with varying forms of success. The jump from wide receiver to running back was most recently done by Ty Montgomery of the Green Bay Packers in 2016.

In his first year as running back, Montgomery had 77 carries for 457 yards and averaged 5.9 yards per carry. However, he has struggled to stay healthy and hasn’t been able to replicate that success from that first season.

A move to running back would also give Norv Turner and this offense more flexibility with the talent they have on the roster. It would be tough for defenses to stop a personnel group of Devin Funchess and Torrey Smith on the outside, D.J. Moore or Jarius Wright in the slot with Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel in the backfield.

The move of Samuel to running back would also give the Panthers a backup to Christian McCaffrey that can provide a similar skillset. This offense once again has struggled to get the second-year back going on the ground with only 18 carries and 87 rushing yards through the first two games. However, McCaffrey’s production once again comes through the air as he continues to be Cam Newton’s favorite pass target.

This would be a role Samuel could fill if the need were to arise.

dark. Next. Grades for the Carolina Panthers in Week 2

The Carolina Panthers have great depth at wide receiver and the coaching staff will need to get creative with how to maximize all that talent once everybody is healthy. By shifting Samuel from wide receiver to running back, it alleviates that log jam at wide receiver while providing insurance at running back.