Panthers see “bigger leap” from Curtis Samuel this year

Josh Alper
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

The first two seasons of wide receiver Curtis Samuel‘s career have featured flashes of the talent that led the Panthers to make him a second-round pick, but it hasn’t come through consistently enough for Samuel to make the kind of impact the team hoped to see.

Samuel’s work this offseason has people around the team believing that will come this year. Wide receiver Torrey Smith said Samuel has had “the most growth out of any player I’ve ever seen” while wide receiver Chris Hogan called his new teammate a special player who has “primed himself to have a good season.”

Running back Christian McCaffrey called Samuel’s speed “rare,” offensive coordinator Norv Turner complimented his route running and head coach Ron Rivera said the wideout has “taken an even bigger leap” than he did between his first two seasons. Samuel shares the confidence in his abilities, but also knows availability will determine how much all of the compliments matter.

“As long as I’m out there, I’m going to make things happen,” Samuel said, via David Newton of “The main thing with me is about staying healthy. If I can do that, best believe something is going to happen.”

Samuel has missed 10 games over his first two seasons and the missed time affected his overall conditioning, which meant more time off the field for a player expected to contribute. Samuel will get a third chance to fulfill those expectations and hitting them would brighten the outlook for the Panthers in 2019.

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