5 potential surprises to watch out for at Panthers camp in 2021

(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Rodney Smith
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Rodney Smith /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brady Christensen and David Moore /

What big surprises could we potentially see where the Carolina Panthers are concerned during training camp in 2021?

We are now just a few short days away from the Carolina Panthers descending on Wofford College for 2021 training camp ahead of the new season. This has the potential to be one of the most fascinating preparation periods in recent memory for the organization following wholesale changes to its roster once again during the offseason in the hope of attaining a winning record or better.

This is the first time that Matt Rhule and a large majority of his playing staff have experienced the stifling heat of camp in Spartanburg after COVID-19 restrictions deprived them of this opportunity last summer. The former Baylor man likes his practices to be high-tempo and intense, so it’ll be interesting to see how players cope in testing conditions.

One thing is for sure, there will be some unexpected scenarios along the way. Training camp is a place where certain plans change and less-fancied players come to the fore, which could make all the difference when competitive action begins Week 1 against the New York Jets.

With this in mind, here are five potential surprises to watch out for at Panthers camp in the coming weeks.

Potential surprises at Carolina Panthers training camp in 2021.

Surprise No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Rodney Smith /

Rodney Smith will push Chuba Hubbard for RB2

All the talk has been about Chuba Hubbard filling the primary backup role behind Christian McCaffrey after the Carolina Panthers selected him in the fourth round. However, don’t be surprised if Rodney Smith gives the rookie a real run for his money at training camp.

Smith went undrafted in 2020 despite becoming Minnesota’s all-time leading rusher in college. Injuries gave the player a chance throughout the campaign and he performed well when touches came his way.

Much will depend on how quickly Hubbard adapts to his new surroundings. Smith has the advantage of being around the set-up last season and could be one of the surprises at camp if he hits the ground running.