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
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Shi Smith /

Carolina Panthers WR Shi Smith is building momentum

There is a growing sense of belief that Shi Smith will not only make the 53-man roster, but the wide receiver could also become a prominent member of the rotation for good measure. The pressure was on in no uncertain terms after a rough rookie campaign and an offseason arrest, but the 2021 sixth-round pick has proven beyond all doubt he is talented enough to carve out a role for himself.

Smith once again caught the eye on Tuesday – as he did at the Washington Commanders in preseason Week 1 – catching a couple of nice passes from Baker Mayfield and looking sharp out of his routes. The South Carolina product also saw plenty of time with the first-string unit as a slot option with Terrace Marshall Jr. working his way back from injury.

Although there is a long way to go, momentum is finally building around Smith. It’s clear recent events have brought around increased urgency from the wideout, who’s taken advantage of every opportunity presented in camp and ever since.

If Smith does enough to earn the trust of offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, then he could become another useful weapon for the Panthers to call upon. Considering how fine the margins are for Carolina and Matt Rhule in 2022, this will be a major asset.

Smith can also lend his support on special teams if Andre Roberts struggles in the kick return game. Yet another string to his bow that now makes him a lock to make the 53.