5 key observations from Panthers joint practices with Patriots Day 1

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

Carolina Panthers LB Brandon Smith’s emergence

There was a lot to like about Brandon Smith‘s preseason debut at the Washington Commanders on Saturday. The linebacker looked explosive and read the game well – traits he brought into the first joint practice with the New England Patriots.

Although the Carolina Panthers are keen to bring on Smith gradually, the fourth-round pick is staking a significant claim for substantial playing time right out of the gate. The Penn State product was everywhere on Tuesday, with the Patriots live stream claiming he was giving Bill Belichick’s men “the business” thanks to a series of outstanding reps.

Nobody ever questioned Smith’s athletic attributes, which are elite. Had his production become more consistent on the Nittany Lions, there’s every chance he would have been a second-round selection if not higher during the 2022 NFL Draft.

Considering how unstable things are at the middle linebacker position in Carolina, Smith’s smooth transition gives the organization hope regarding a long-term solution. While the likes of Damien Wilson and Cory Littleton could see the field more initially, don’t be surprised if the Panthers install the first-year-pro much sooner than anticipated.

This is great news for Carolina and the player. Smith has all the physical assets imaginable and once everything clicks, the Panthers will have an exceptional player on their hands.