Brandon Smith – Carolina Panthers LB
- Starting inside linebacker by Week 10
Given how physically gifted Brandon Smith is, the Carolina Panthers could have a real steal on their hands if he puts everything together at the next level. The linebacker has all the size, explosiveness, and instincts to become a truly dominant force, but harnessing this into more consistency when it counts is the coaching staff’s primary objective in 2022.
Smith might have fallen into Day 3 of the draft, but this is arguably one of the better landing spots for the Penn State product. The Panthers will give him every chance to earn rotational reps right away and providing his development goes as or better than anticipated, a starting berth might not be out of the question at some stage.
This is a lofty goal for Smith to attain. But the intangibles are there and once the penny drops, this has all the makings of a special talent.
Carolina has been utilizing Smith in different ways during the early offseason period while he learns how to play the inside linebacker position effectively. An area of the field that the Panthers have found complex since the great Luke Kuechly retired following the 2019 campaign.
If Smith can take everything on board and become more disciplined on the interior, then it might see the Panthers throw him in at the deep end later in the season to see what they truly have in the fourth-round selection.