DeAndre Hopkins and Carolina Panthers wide receivers coach Ricky Proehl got together for a one-on-one workout on Monday, and the NFL club is expected to do the same soon with Tennessee wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson.
But while pairing playmaking receivers like Hopkins and Patterson with quarterback Cam Newton is intriguing to Panthers' fans, a leading Panthers website, SB Nation's PanthersRoar, points out that "the Panthers have more major needs than they have draft picks."
Carolina has, in fact, just six picks in the upcoming draft - mid-round selections in the first and second rounds, none in the third, and then mid-round picks in the fourth through seventh.
In other words, if the Panthers plan to select an elite receiver, it would most likely have to be with their first-round pick - although with the uncertainty surrounding this year's receiver pecking order means that Carolina still might be able to grab Hopkins with the 12th pick of the second round - No. 44 overall. Patterson is a consensus first-rounder, with half a dozen teams interested.
Most draft analysts believe the Panthers will go another direction and shore up their defensive line, offensive line and secondary with their top picks. Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is the consensus pick as the Panthers' most likely first choice.
Of the dozen 2013 mock drafts currently published on DraftInsider.com and NFL.com, four have Hopkins being taken in the first round, but none by Carolina.
Dan Brugler and Gil Brandt have Hopkins going 23rd to the Minnesota Vikings, Albert Breer 21st to the Cincinnati Bengals, and Josh Norris 27th to the Houston Texans.