3 Panthers players who helped their chances in preseason Week 2
By Dean Jones
Brandon Smith – Carolina Panthers LB
There is growing excitement about Brandon Smith after a standout first summer with the Carolina Panthers. The former Penn State standout has integrated superbly into the defensive rotation and another top outing at the New England Patriots in preseason Week 2 did nothing to dispel calls to include the rookie much sooner than anticipated.
Smith’s athleticism came across in no uncertain terms to record five tackles, one tackle for loss, one quarterback hit, and a single sack. His explosiveness is something that’s been sorely lacking at the second level since Luke Kuechly retired and although he might not start initially, there’s nothing to suggest he cannot become a long-term option on the interior.
Another area where Smith could assist in the meantime is on special teams. The fourth-round selection already looks like a draft steal, but the big test will be during the regular season against far superior opposition.
The Panthers cannot be anything other than impressed by Smith’s smooth transition to the pros. Providing some positional improvements are made against the run, then this could be a surprise some teams don’t see coming in 2022.
Smith’s fearless approach to every down is sure to make him a fan favorite in no time at all. And there is far more hope he can become the next great Panthers linebacker if everything continues in this fashion.