Panthers Like Oklahoma's Sterling Shepard's 'Big-Play Ability'

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Feb 28, 2016 07:00 AM EST
Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Sterling Shepard
The Carolina Panthers reportedly like Oklahoma wide receiver Sterling Shepard's "big-play ability," and could look to target him in the first round of the NFL Draft."

The Carolina Panthers amazing 2015 season didn't finish the way they wanted it to with them hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, but Carolina still has one of the best rosters in the league heading into the 2016 season and are looking to only get stronger through the 2016 NFL Draft.

Carolina finished the regular season with the best record in the league at 15-1, and despite losing their top wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the preseason with a torn ACL, they finished with the NFL's top scoring offense. While the Panthers are hopeful to have a healthy Benjamin back in 2016, they could look to add another weapon for NFL MVP Cam Newton, and one player to keep an eye on is Oklahoma wide receiver Sterling Shepard.

The Sooners wide receiver has already met with the team, and they like his "big-play ability," according to Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer. NFL Network's Mike Mayock compared Shepard to Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb during the NFL Combine on Saturday, and said he could fit the slot role for an NFL team.

The Sooners receiver tied for the best bench press and vertical jump in the Combine, and could make a strong fit with the Panthers with the 30th pick in the draft. In his senior season Shepard recorded 86 receptions for 1,288 yards and scored 11 touchdowns, and was a big reason Oklahoma made the College Football Playoff.

The Panthers have one of the most loaded rosters in the NFL, but still need to reload with talent this offseason as they look to fill needs at offensive tackle, defensive end, defensive back, and running back, according to NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein. It's unknown if Carolina would be willing to use a first round pick on a wide receiver, but there is no doubt that the Panthers receiving core would be stacked with the addition of Shepard combined with Benjamin and tight end Greg Olsen.

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