5 Panthers players with soaring stock after preseason Week 1 win
By Dean Jones
Shi Smith – Carolina Panthers WR
The status of Shi Smith was something of a concern heading into training camp. His anonymous rookie campaign coupled with an offseason arrest made this summer a vital one for the wide receiver, who has taken on a big-time challenge with outstanding determination to put himself back into consideration.
The former sixth-round pick got plenty of work with the first unit during Baker Mayfield’s opening series. The Carolina Panthers moved down the field well early on, with their new quarterback connecting twice on third down with Smith, which was arguably more than we saw from the wideout last season.
Smith also brought back a long kick return for 41 yards to further enhance his influence on the game. Attaining targets will be difficult for the South Carolina product, but this was undeniably better than anyone could have hoped for after his turbulent offseason.
This was a step in the right direction for Smith, although his catch success needs to increase slightly to earn substantial targets in 2022. However, any questions about his overall status on the roster might be a thing of the past.
There is stiff competition for places in the wideout room once again. Even if Smith does make the team, he’ll likely be the fifth or sixth-best option heading into the new campaign.