4 secret weapons on the Carolina Panthers in 2022

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Brandon Smith
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) Brandon Smith /
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Carolina Panthers
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Brandon Smith /

Brandon Smith – Carolina Panthers LB

The Carolina Panthers are starting from scratch once again at middle linebacker. A position that is still searching for consistency after Luke Kuechly’s retirement following the 2019 season.

It appears as if Damien Wilson and Cory Littleton will share duties on the interior depending on the situation. But the Panthers also surged up to No. 120 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft for a development project that could emerge into a dominant force over time.

Brandon Smith has every physical and athletic tool imaginable. Many expected him to go much higher thanks to these attributes, but he remains a little rough around the edges in pursuit of putting his immensely positive tools to better use.

Considering Smith’s size, strength, and explosiveness, it was a shock to see him not become more dominant at Penn State. But if he picks things up quickly in training camp, then there is a high chance his rookie year could be much more prolific than expected.

Smith also has the attributes to become a special teams force under the expert guidance of Chris Tabor. This would provide the player with competitive experience before hopefully stepping up into a starting role sooner rather than later.