Will Dwayne Jarrett finally step up this season?
As a two-time All-American at the University of Southern California, Panthers wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett was used to living in the spotlight.
After three forgettable seasons in the NFL, Jarrett has made the transition from life in the spotlight to life under the microscope.
Jarrett—a second-round pick in 2007 (45th overall)—was one of the most prolific wideouts in the country as the 6-4, 219-pounder caught 161 passes for 2,289 yards and 28 scores during his final two seasons at USC. The 23-year-old is still Southern Cal’s all-time receptions leader (216) and the Pac-10’s receiving touchdowns leader (41).
But the good old days at USC are now a distant memory as Jarrett prepares to shake the bust label in his fourth professional season. The wide receiver has caught just 33 passes for 388 yards and one score in 29 career games, making only three starts since entering the NFL.
As if that wasn’t enough to frustrate the Carolina faithful, the Panthers passed on wide receivers Steve Smith (NY Giants), Mike Sims-Walker (Jacksonville) and Steve Breaston (Arizona) when they selected Jarrett in the second round.
However, despite the lack of production, Jarrett has found himself a supporter in new Panthers wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert.
"He's doing all the right things," Tolbert recently told Darin Gantt of the Charlotte Observer. "He's not the only one (who's) been inconsistent. There's been a lot of inconsistency with a lot of people. It's about the little things, having a sense of urgency about himself. ... He's going to be OK, I think."
Carolina desperately needs another wide receiver to step up and complement Pro Bowler Steve Smith. Outside of Smith, the rest of the Panthers receiving unit combined for just two touchdowns in 2009—which is probably a big reason why the team selected LSU’s Bradon LaFell and Baylor’s David Gettis is April’s draft.
In any event, the clock is ticking on Jarrett. He’ll have another opportunity this summer to earn a starting spot on the Carolina depth chart and contribute to the team.
The question is, does he have what it takes to get it done?
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