Shi Smith – Carolina Panthers WR
The depth chart status of Shi Smith was something to monitor closely in training camp after a difficult first season with the Carolina Panthers. Hopes were high surrounding the former sixth-round pick coming into the organization, but he found life difficult carving out a role for himself and an offseason arrest cast a bigger cloud over his aspirations before descending on Spartanburg.
Smith looks like a completely different player this summer. He is approaching every practice with fierce determination and is making every rep count, producing some memorable highlights over the first week of team drills.
The South Carolina product has caught the eye more than most and received a glowing reference from head coach Matt Rhule on Saturday. Providing the wide receiver continues this production before Week 1, then it might see increased targets coming his way.
This is the best possible outcome for Smith and the Panthers, who struggled to find consistency from their pass-catchers not named D.J. Moore in 2021. If younger players can step up and performance levels improve with Baker Mayfield under center, this should be a fun offense to watch under Ben McAdoo.
Carolina couldn’t have asked any more from Smith over the first few practices. But what comes next with preseason games on the horizon will also come with big-time ramifications.