6 Panthers players who need to hit the ground running at 2021 camp

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Shi Smith /

Shi Smith – Carolina Panthers WR

Shi Smith has certainly caught the eye during the early portion of offseason activities. But getting those pads on and doing the same will be the biggest challenge so far for the rookie wide receiver.

There is growing confidence that Smith can become a valuable contributor as the season progresses. The Carolina Panthers lost Curtis Samuel to the Washington Football Team in free agency and it appears as if the team is willing to take a chance on youth stepping up and filling the void.

Terrace Marshall Jr. and David Moore might be better placed to make an immediate impact. However, don’t be surprised if Smith emerges as a potential camp star in pursuit of a substantial role right from the outset.

The South Carolina product is a smooth route-runner who does his best work out of the slot. Something the Panthers will need after Samuel took his chances elsewhere.

If Smith hits the ground running at camp and makes his targets count during the preseason, then the wideout might be a surprise opposing teams don’t see coming.

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Adjusting to the next level well is probably all the Panthers are looking for from Smith in the coming weeks. However, expect to see the player introduced gradually onto the rotation pretty quickly if this objective is achieved.