The Carolina Panthers and general manager Marty Hurney kept a keen eye on newly acquired wide receiver, Louis Murphy, all preseason long.
Murphy joins the Panthers from the Oakland Raiders, where he spent his first three seasons in the NFL. A former fourth round draft pick by the Raiders in 2009, Murphy was picked up by the Panthers in the offseason via a trade with Oakland in hopes that he could fill a void at the wide receiver position.
The Panthers lacked depth at wide receiver and simply did not have a suitable third receiver they could rely on. Carolina likes wide receiver Brandon LaFell, who has made significant strides at wide receiver now entering his third season in the NFL. With LaFell earning a spot as the team’s second option at the position, Carolina felt compelled to trade for Murphy, who has big play making abilities.
Murphy is young and apparently reliable enough for the Panthers to trade a future conditional draft pick for, so this preseason was huge for Murphy to make a statement and lock down his name as the Panthers’ third wide receiver.
He did just that; proving to the Panthers that he could be a viable third option behind veteran wide receiver Steve Smith and LaFell
The six-foot-two, 200-pound receiver opened the 2012 season with three catches for 63 yards. Should be good enough for Carolina to feel pleased with their acquisition, but the Panthers will need Murphy to continue to build on his numbers from this past Sunday.
The Panthers only attempted to run the ball 13 times in week one, a far cry from their identity that has them pegged as a run first, pass later, style of football team.
If Carolina hopes to improve on their passing offense and run the ball less, Murphy will have to step his game up and start finding the end zone.
Finding the end zone was a problem for him in Oakland; only scoring six touchdowns in three seasons. A total that is probably obscured, given Oakland’s plethora of wide receivers during that period.
For now, it seems Murphy was a solid addition for the Panthers, and one that could easily have an impact on a team hoping to achieve lofty goals in 2012.