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Baker Mayfield “kind of shocked” by Laviska Shenault’s physical presence

From a team with a new starting QB and head coach on the hot seat to a team that's upgraded on both sides of the ball, Mike Florio and Chris Simms dive into the NFC South to assess win totals for the 2022-23 season.

Wide receiver Laviska Shenault joined the Panthers at practice on Wednesday for the first time since the Jaguars traded him to the NFC South team this week and one thing about him jumped out to his new team.

Head coach Matt Rhule said the team made the trade because they need playmakers, but pivoted to note Shenault’s size and that he “can be a really, really physical blocker” for the offense. Quarterback Baker Mayfield also focused on Shenault’s physicality when he was asked about his first impressions of the wideout.

“Honestly, I was kind of shocked,” Mayfield said, via Darin Gantt of the team’s website. “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.”

Shenault said he hopes to get “in different positions” to help his new club this season and his physical presence has led to comparisons to Cordarrelle Patterson, who entered the league as a wideout but has morphed into a running back role with the Falcons. If Christian McCaffrey is healthy, running back reps may be in short supply but the more Shenault can do the more he’ll be on the field this fall.