5 Panthers players who must stand out at mandatory minicamp in 2022

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shi Smith
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shi Smith /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shi Smith /

87. . WR/KR. Carolina Panthers. SHI SMITH. 3. player

Shi Smith – Carolina Panthers WR/KR

It’s been a difficult start to life in the NFL for Shi Smith. The former sixth-round pick failed to earn enough trust from the coaching staff for prominent reps as a rookie, which was a shock considering how much other pass-catchers were struggling to make an impact aside from the ultra-consistent D.J. Moore.

Smith is in danger of becoming the forgotten man unless significant improvements are made. An early offseason arrest wasn’t exactly ideal, but nothing has come from this as yet, so focusing on football is the best solution for the South Carolina product right now.

There is no denying Smith has some likable traits. His competitive streak and explosiveness could make him a key rotational piece if everything goes well, but the competition for reps and roster spots in the wideout room is going to be something to monitor closely throughout the summer.

Making opportunities count is the minimum requirement for Smith. Displaying the right attitude also wouldn’t hurt, with his potential in the kick return game another potential positive that the second-year-pro can put to good use.

Just what the ceiling is for Smith in the short and long-term is undecided. What comes next will be down to the player and how he bounces back from a rookie campaign that saw him become virtually anonymous is of crucial importance.