4 second-year Panthers players under pressure following 2022 draft

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

SHI SMITH. 2. player. 87. . WR/KR. Carolina Panthers

Shi Smith – Carolina Panthers WR/KR

Much like the situation with Deonte Brown, it was a slow burn for Shi Smith during his rookie campaign in 2021. The former South Carolina product found opportunities limited despite the lack of consistency in their wide receiver room outside of D.J. Moore, which was a potential indictment of how the coaching staff saw his status and ability to adjust.

The Carolina Panthers did not draft a wideout or a kick returner during the draft. However, they added five prospects at the position in undrafted free agency and the team also secured the services of All-Pro Andre Roberts on a one-year deal.

Smith must now rise to the challenge and force his way into the Panthers’ plans. A task that was made that much more complicated by the player’s offseason arrest.

What comes next is completely up to Smith. The talent is there – he proved that throughout his stint with the Gamecocks – so working hard and maximizing opportunities is only going to help his cause in the coming weeks.

There will be many others chomping at the bit to get themselves a 53-man roster spot and increased targets from whoever is under center. Smith’s character dictates he’ll fight with everything he’s got, but whether or not that’s enough is another matter.