4 Packers players the Panthers should be most concerned about

(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) Davante Adams
(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) Davante Adams /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Za’Darius Smith /

Za’Darius Smith – OLB

Za’Darius Smith is battling an injury that threatens to keep him out of Green Bay’s game against the Carolina Panthers. However, if the outside linebacker does manage to take the field then he has the potential to wreak havoc on an offensive line that has little in the way of notable depth and could be missing veteran left tackle Russell Okung, who is questionable with a calf injury.

Smith has risen in stature with every passing year after being drafted in the fourth round back in 2015. The edge rusher is a commanding force getting into the backfield and this has resulted in 42.5 sacks, 52 tackles for loss, 110 quarterback hits, and seven forced fumbles over 87 games – 45 of which he has started.

He is currently joint third on the NFL sack list with 10.5, just two away from league-leading Aaron Donald. Generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks is just a small sample of what Smith brings to the table and considering how much Carolina struggled to protect Teddy Bridgewater against the Broncos, the former Kentucky star will see this as a significant opportunity to boost his numbers further in front of a national audience.

Things are going to be difficult for the Panthers, of that there is little doubt. Smith is a supreme force to be reckoned with and it’s essential that a plan is put in place to counteract his threat.