5 Carolina Panthers role players on offense set to thrive in 2021
Shi Smith – Carolina Panthers WR
The wide receiver room remains one of strength where the Carolina Panthers are concerned. Three strong additions could offset one major departure in Curtis Samuel, but much will depend on how the two rookies adjust to what could end up being solid roles on the rotation as the campaign progresses.
Much has been made of Terrace Marshall Jr.’s early impact at training camp. This has left Shi Smith going relatively under-the-radar, which is absolutely fine with the sixth-round pick as he looks to stake a claim.
The Panthers clearly see something in Smith, who they worked with closely at the 2021 Senior Bowl. His production at South Carolina was top notch and the player’s ability to make clutch catches from the slot is something that Joe Brady might utilize with a smooth transition into the system.
As is the case with Chuba Hubbard, Smith should get the chance to develop at his own pace before making an impression somewhere down the line. Carolina has an embarrassment of riches for Sam Darnold to utilize in the passing game, so the rookie might be in line to become a core special teamer in Year 1.
However, there might be the odd package or two specifically to make the most of Smith’s impressive skill set. Making the most of these opportunities could lead to bigger and better things moving forward.