Carolina Panthers rookie development
The Carolina Panthers made the most of limited resources during the 2022 NFL Draft. They didn’t have a second or third-round selection thanks to trades for Sam Darnold and C.J. Henderson, but the primary decision-makers were patient and struck with conviction when the right opportunities came along.
Just how much of an impression the 2022 class can make during their rookie campaigns remains unclear. There is an abundance of athleticism and explosiveness within the group, but none are expected to fill starting berths aside from Ikem Ewkwonu.
Getting as many reps as possible into players such as Brandon Smith and Amare Barno during the preseason would be wise. We’ve already discussed the benefits of installing Matt Corral into the lineup before a potential redshirt year behind Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold.
Smith, in particular, is a player of significant intrigue at a position where the Panthers are crying out for stability.
The former Penn State linebacker has every physical tool imaginable to become a productive starter. But he is a little rough around the edges, so the more experience he gets in the preseason, the better his chances will be.
Others such as Cade Mays and speedy cornerback Kalon Barnes should also see considerable reps. But whether either player can do enough to surge up the depth chart is another matter.