Shi Smith – Carolina Panthers WR
The Carolina Panthers saw Shi Smith as a high-value draft selection last year who could grow into a nice wide receiver over time. That didn’t happen right away after an anonymous rookie campaign, but throwing in the towel after just one year would be foolish.
Smith has the talent and the right football mindset to make improvements. An offseason arrest didn’t paint him in the best light, but showing Carolina’s coaching staff he can make a more telling contribution in 2022 should be his primary focus right now.
Just why Smith was utilized in limited fashion last season is anyone’s guess. The Panthers weren’t getting consistent production from any wide receiver not named D.J. Moore, so it looked like a good chance to throw the former South Carolina standout in at the deep end to see what they have.
Confidence must have been low in Smith, who generated just six receptions from 11 targets and was active just six times throughout the season. That has to change in training camp and especially considering how many other wideouts are looking to stake a claim.
Maximizing every opportunity and target that comes Smith’s way is the only way to accomplish this. If the scenario comes to fruition in training camp and the preseason, then all hope might not be lost where the player is concerned.