6 Panthers players fighting for their jobs following 2022 NFL Draft

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shi Smith /

87. . WR/KR. Carolina Panthers. SHI SMITH. 6. player

Shi Smith – Carolina Panthers WR/KR

The Carolina Panthers opted not to select a wide receiver during the 2022 NFL Draft. They didn’t have the capital for such a luxury, but the organization moved quickly in the undrafted free agency period to sign no fewer than five wideout prospects to their ranks.

Whether one can emerge from the shadows and contend for a roster spot is undetermined. But there does appear to be one or two capable of making some noise if their transition to the professional level goes better than anticipated.

This lays the gauntlet down to Shi Smith, a former sixth-round pick that was virtually anonymous as a rookie – generating a handful of snaps and little in the way of involvement overall.

Smith was arrested earlier this offseason, which won’t exactly help his chances. Any hopes the player had of becoming the team’s new kick returner were also dealt a hammer blow when the Panthers signed All-Pro Andre Roberts to a one-year deal.

What’s happened in recent months is not something Smith will want to dwell on. The South Carolina product needs to get his head down, work hard, and hopefully, that will be enough for the coaching staff to become more confident in his ability.

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What comes next is down to Smith, who is not likely to give up his spot without a fight.