4 Carolina Panthers who need to step it up at training camp

(Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images) Ishmael Hyman
(Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images) Ishmael Hyman /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Andre Smith /

Andre Smith – LB

Andre Smith has a real opportunity to make his presence felt at training camp. There is a lack of depth at linebacker following the retirement of perennial All-Pro Luke Kuechly. And this has been further highlighted by Christian Miller and Jordan Mack opting out due to health concerns.

Not much has been made of Smith’s contribution to camp so far. This might tell us all we need to know about his performances. And it is evident more will be needed in the coming weeks if he wants to see a consistent spell on the field as a primary member of the rotation.

Smith has a chance to compete for a starting spot at outside linebacker opposite Shaq Thompson. But the way Jermaine Carter and Marquis Haynes are showcasing their skills in front of a new coaching staff is concerning for his chances.

This is a big year for the third-year pro in terms of his long-term aspirations in the NFL. It is normally the time when players come to the fore with two years’ experience under their belts. But Smith has much work to do if he wants to fall into this category next season.

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If Smith fails to convince defensive coordinator Phil Snow that he is dependable enough to get more playing time in 2020. Then it might be the beginning of the end for his time in Carolina.