5 players the Panthers can’t risk sneaking on their practice squad in 2021

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Phil Hoskins
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Phil Hoskins /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Rodney Smith /

Rodney Smith – Carolina Panthers RB

Rodney Smith deserves all the credit in the world for carving out a role for himself in 2020 after he was initially rejected by the Carolina Panthers. The injury to Christian McCaffrey gave the Minnesota product an opportunity to establish himself on the roster and made an eye-catching impression with the carries that came his way during the campaign.

Smith is never going to blow you away with elite explosiveness. That’s just not his game.

However, Smith is an intelligent runner that can make the most out of even the smallest gaps to gain notable yardage.

As we all know, the NFL waits for no man.

Smith faces another fight this summer to make the roster once again and the intriguing addition of fourth-round pick Chuba Hubbard is a big blow to the player’s chances of being the primary backup to McCaffrey.

Not only this, but Smith also has a healthy Reggie Bonnafon and Trenton Cannon to contend with in pursuit of being around for the Week 1 opener against the New York Jets.

Smith couldn’t have done anymore last season. At the very least, the Panthers should offer him a place on the practice squad if they decide to take others onto the roster.

This comes with its own set of complications. Smith’s efforts in 2020 didn’t go unnoticed and another organization might take him on in this eventuality.