Carolina Panthers rookie report from first preseason game at Colts

(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Tommy Tremble
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Tommy Tremble /
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Carolina Panthers
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Shi Smith /

Shi Smith – Carolina Panthers WR

Shi Smith didn’t play many snaps against the Indianapolis Colts but made the most of what he could, snagging one reception along the sideline for 26 receiving yards on a drive that later resulted in a touchdown.

Smith is expected to make the 53-man roster and potentially contribute as a returner. However, the former Gamecock didn’t get to showcase much of his skills on Sunday.

Deonte Brown – Carolina Panthers OG

Deonte Brown started at right guard but his day was cut short after suffering an ankle injury late in the second quarter. Prior to the injury, the Alabama product was playing exceptionally well at the position, not allowing any pressures on the quarterback.

At this moment, it’s unclear how severe the injury is but Brown did not return to the game. A situation worth monitoring in the coming days.

Thomas Fletcher – Carolina Panthers LS

Long snappers usually don’t receive much credit, even when they perform their job to perfection.

Thomas Fletcher played the second half and came in for just four snaps. While none of these resulted in a disaster, where the rookie really shined was on a punt coverage play where Colts returner Isaiah Rodgers fluffed his lines, resulting in a loose ball where he was the one to recover and maintain possession for the Panthers.

The Panthers have been blessed to have J.J. Jansen as the team’s long snapper for 12 years. But if Fletcher can make a few plays for himself, there is a chance the longest current tenured Panther gets replaced.

Phil Hoskins – Carolina Panthers DT

Seventh-round pick Phil Hoskins got his first taste of NFL action in the second half and didn’t look overawed by the moment by any stretch. The defensive tackle was a constant source of pressure and got some nice push both against the run and on passing downs.

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This is highly encouraging from Hoskins, who arguably outperformed the likes of Bravvion Roy and Daviyon Nixon. Fleeting moments like this might seem like nothing, but they do not go unnoticed by the coaching staff.