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Panthers WR Laviska Shenault Jr. hungry for a fresh start in Carolina: 'I'm a dog. I'll get down and dirty'

After two seasons in Jacksonville, Laviska Shenault Jr. is ready for a fresh start following his trade to Carolina.

"I'm a hungry player," he said, via the Panthers' official website. "I'm a dog. I'll get down and dirty. I'm a tough person. I love this game, love to score touchdowns, love to get the fans lit; that's one of the biggest things."

The Jags drafted Shenault in the second round in 2020, envisioning him as a tackle-breaking do-it-all weapon. He never quite took off in two seasons, netting 600 receiving yards his rookie year and 619 yards in 2021. In the end, after adding players to the position, the Jags' new coaching staff decided it was better to move on.

In Carolina, Shenault hopes Matt Rhule and company give him more opportunities than the ones in Jacksonville.

"Hopefully, I'm able to get in different positions and take the top off, because I'm very capable of doing so," Shenault said.

The wideout wasn't a deep threat much at all last season in Jacksonville. He ran just eight total routes of 30-plus yards, with one target (a 52-yard catch), per Next Gen Stats. Instead, the Jags' previous two coaching staffs mostly used Shenault as a quick-catch player, hitting him on short throws and hoping he could run after the catch.

The 6-foot-1, 227-pound wideout has already impressed teammates in Carolina.

"Honestly, I was kind of shocked," quarterback Baker Mayfield said of Shenault. "He's a big dude. Really physical presence. He came out there, obviously, he's learning on the fly for us right now, but I can relate to that. He did well today. He has a physical presence. Obviously his athleticism jumps off the tape. Seeing him in person is another thing. We're happy to have him, and just see what he fits in with what he's doing."

What Shenault's role will be in Carolina remains to be seen. The Panthers have do-it-all star D.J. Moore, deep threat Robbie Anderson, and second-year wideout Terrace Marshall Jr. as their top three wideouts and veteran Rashard Higgins, who has a rapport with Mayfield from their Cleveland days, ready to leap into a role.

"Laviska's walking into a situation where he doesn't have to be the number one guy right away," Rhule said. "He just has to come in and learn some things. Because we have the other receivers, we don't have a ton of pressure. But we know we need playmakers; we're always going to look for playmakers. An added component of that is not just his ability to run the football, but he can be a really, really physical blocker, which is something that we want."

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