5 bold predictions for Carolina Panthers training camp in 2022

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Baker Mayfield
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Baker Mayfield /
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Carolina Panthers
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Brandon Smith /

Brandon Smith enters Carolina Panthers MLB1 contention

The Carolina Panthers head into the season with doubts surrounding the middle linebacker position. An ongoing trend for the organization since Luke Kuechly retired to preserve his long-term health after the 2019 campaign.

Damien Wilson’s offseason arrest and Cory Littleton’s regression last time around could further complicate matters. But the Panthers have an exciting young player who could develop into a special talent with further refinement.

Carolina struck with conviction during the 2022 NFL Draft when opportunities arose. Moving up to acquire Brandon Smith at No. 120 overall was an eye-catching decision with the long-term in mind, but there is nothing to suggest the Penn State product cannot make a contribution right out of the gate.

Smith has every physical trait imaginable. His size, speed, and overall athleticism are there for all to see, but putting it all together consistently in college proved difficult and there is a lot of hard work ahead for the linebacker in training camp.

The Panthers have two veterans capable of filling the spot vacated by Jermaine Carter. However, don’t be surprised if Smith makes quick progress to potentially enter starting consideration in Week 1.