5 Carolina Panthers backups who aren’t getting talked about enough

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Sam Franklin
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Sam Franklin /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shi Smith /

Shi Smith – Carolina Panthers WR

One of the real areas of strength on the Carolina Panthers is at wide receiver. There are a number of players who could make a substantial impact in 2021 despite Curtis Samuel bolting in free agency in favor of a big-money deal with the Washington Football Team. But much will depend on whether quarterback Sam Darnold can thrive in a different environment.

The big names like D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson take center stage. Others such as David Moore and Terrace Marshall Jr. should also make their presence felt within Joe Brady’s dynamic scheme.

However, don’t be surprised if Shi Smith ends up playing an important role.

Smith might only be a sixth-round pick. But the South Carolina product has all the talent in the world.

He thrives creating separation out of the slot, which is where the Panthers need immediate assistance now Samuel isn’t around. Smith also possesses enough elusiveness to gain yards after the catch to further enhance his overall influence.

Fighting for targets will be objective No. 1 for Smith. This can be achieved by strong performances both at training camp and during his preseason reps, with the Panthers sure to send plenty of targets his way over the three contests.

If he can do this, then earning a prominent spot on the rotation is not entirely out of the question.