Panthers Trade 3 Picks To Draft Michigan Receiver Funchess

one space CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers added another big target in the passing game for Cam Newton.

The Panthers traded up Friday night to select Michigan wide receiver Devin Funchess in the second round of the NFL draft.

The Panthers surrendered their second round (57th), third round (89th) and sixth round (201st) picks to move up 16 spots in the second round to take the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Funchess 41st overall.

Funchess gives the Panthers another tall, physical wide receiver to pair with Kelvin Benjamin, last year’s first-round draft pick.

“Like I’ve said before, you can’t coach size,” Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said, stealing a line from last year when the team selected the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Benjamin. “Devin plays fast and he’s a smooth, fluid big man. And he’s a very smart kid. He knows all three (wide receiver) positions and knew the blocking schemes.”

The Panthers believe Funchess has a huge upside and will create mismatches against opposing defenses, particularly when paired with Benjamin and Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen.

Coach Ron Rivera said there were some initial concerns about Funchess’ speed after he ran a 4.70 in the 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine. But Funchess worked to dispel some of those concerns by running a 4.47 at Michigan’s pro day workout.

All of that doesn’t concern Funchess.

“My game speed is faster than my 40-yard dash time,” Funchess said.

Funchess is coming off a productive season for the Wolverines, catching 62 passes for 733 yards and four touchdowns, earning second-team All-Big Ten honors. He had seven grabs against national champion Ohio State for 108 yards after moving over from playing tight end in 2013.

Funchess said he didn’t feel like any other wide receiver at the NFL Scouting Combine had his skill set.

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