5 Panthers players whose hype train is rolling entering 2022 season

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Frankie Luvu
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Frankie Luvu /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shi Smith /

Shi Smith – Carolina Panthers WR

Things were hanging in the balance for Shi Smith this off-season. A frustrating rookie campaign coupled with some off-the-field issues meant the wide receiver had his work cut out making his presence felt within a wide receiver room that is loaded with talent.

Smith was a roster bubble candidate heading into camp. But after leaving the biggest impression imaginable, the former sixth-round pick can now expect some prominent targets as part of the rotation in 2022.

This is the best-case scenario for Smith, who demonstrated his dependable hands and smooth route-running throughout the summer. More importantly, the player is focused on football and seems to be in a better place mentally after altering his approach and seeking the counsel of Carolina Panthers legend Steve Smith.

Just how much involvement Smith gets next season has yet to be determined. There is a big chance he can secure the No. 3 role behind D.J. Moore and Robbie Anderson, but taking advantage of early opportunities will be key for the South Carolina product.

Smith’s skills have never been in question. And confidence is now extremely high in the wideout after a preparation period to remember at just the right time.