CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Panthers say they'd like to find a replacement for longtime No. 1 wide receiver Steve Smith in this year's NFL draft.
The big question is when they'll do it.
The Panthers have the 28th overall pick, but the NFC South champions have a variety of needs after getting hit hard in free agency, and could go in a number of directions with their first-round pick.
General manager Dave Gettleman says wide receiver, offensive tackle and cornerback are among the team's top needs, although he's quick to add the Panthers won't reach for a player because of need.
Gettleman says he has some reservations about drafting a receiver in the first round because it often takes them longer to assimilate to the NFL game than those who play other positions.