5 Panthers players tumbling down depth chart during the preseason

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brandon Zylstra and Terrace Marshall Jr.
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brandon Zylstra and Terrace Marshall Jr. /
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Carolina Panthers
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Rodney Smith /

Rodney Smith – Carolina Panthers RB

Rodney Smith showed enough last season to suggest he’d probably be in with a shot at replacing Mike Davis as the primary backup to Christian McCaffrey after the veteran left for the Atlanta Falcons in free agency. The undrafted free agent out of Minnesota produced some memorable moments over the latter stages of the campaign, which was enough for the Carolina Panthers to give him a shot at more involvement this time around.

There was nothing wrong with Smith’s contribution during training camp. According to those in attendance, the player has carried the football well and took advantage of opportunities when they arose, but not being available for the team’s first two preseason games is something that might come back to haunt him.

Chuba Hubbard has certainly left his mark over the last fortnight in a game-day setting. Even if others have not.

This puts the fourth-round pick in pole position for the backup job, leaving the likes of Smith and Reggie Bonnafon fighting it out for the third and potentially final position on the depth chart.

Carolina isn’t expected to use McCaffrey too heavily in their preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. After all, keeping the All-Pro fit and firing is absolutely critical to the team’s chances.

Providing Smith is healthy, he could get some reps that ultimately define his future.