Carolina Panthers plan to utilize Brandon Smith’s versatility
Trading up to No. 120 overall for linebacker Brandon Smith was done with the short and long term in mind. The former Penn State standout possesses unreal athleticism that came across in no uncertain terms throughout the evaluation period – something that those in power within the Carolina Panthers felt could benefit them with additional refinement.
Smith should be more dominant on the field given his athletic attributes. Turning things that cannot be taught into a productive player is the big job facing the Panthers, who gave the rookie a lot of work across the second level throughout minicamp.
Matt Rhule stated that they are looking to maximize Smith’s athleticism early on while the player learns what it takes to play linebacker at the next level. This could also mean a core role on special teams thanks to his elite explosiveness.
"“We think he’s a guy who can be one of those chess-piece types of players. A linebacker, who can also rush. Fast, athletic. Still a young player. We’ll play him at all three linebacker positions.”"
If Smith can integrate himself quickly and take whatever he’s getting on board, then he could be an immediate contributor in some capacity. And who knows, it might even come with some prominent reps on the defensive rotation should the player’s transition go better than anticipated.