5 Panthers players who surged up the depth chart at 2021 training camp

(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule and Kenny Robinson
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule and Kenny Robinson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Alex Hicks Jr./The Spartanburg Herald-Journal via IMAGN Content Services) Shi Smith /

Shi Smith – Carolina Panthers WR

The options available to the Carolina Panthers at wide receiver remain strong despite Curtis Samuel leaving for the Washington Football Team free agency. One of the main reasons for this is the encouraging strides made by Shi Smith throughout training camp.

A sixth-round pick doesn’t come with much in the way of expectations, at least initially. But that might not be the case where Smith is concerned following an eye-catching college career not too far away in South Carolina.

Smith has something you can’t teach. A self-confidence and ruthless approach that’s been a breath of fresh air during his time on the field.

Nobody is expecting the wideout to become a top weapon in Year 1 of his professional career. However, what Smith might have accomplished is earning the right to his fair share of targets right out of the gate.


This was the first primary objective for Smith, who could also be utilized in the return game as well as receiving a gradual introduction into the passing scheme.

Smith went relatively overlooked during the evaluation process. Working with him at the 2021 Senior Bowl was clearly something that played a leading role in the Panthers picking him late in the draft, with his ability to create separation and consistent catching under pressure something that’s been prevalent throughout camp.