4 wildcards that can propel Panthers to victory at NY Giants in Week 2

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

Brandon Smith – Carolina Panthers LB

There are still some injury worries surrounding Brandon Smith which need to be monitored ahead of Week 2. Providing the rookie linebacker is fit enough to suit up, the Carolina Panthers should get him more involved.

Smith looked like a player of real promise during the offseason. His explosiveness and athleticism stood out considering during Carolina’s preseason games, which is something the second-level was sorely lacking in Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns.

The fourth-round selection out of Penn State has some work to do in terms of coverage and positional sense. But he could potentially become an asset in specific situations right out of the gate.

Asking Smith to slot in as a starter immediately is pushing things a little. However, considering how much Damien Wilson, Cory Littleton, and others within the linebacking corps failed to meet expectations last weekend, he might have the physicality needed to neutralize his fellow Nittany Lions alum, Saquon Barkley.

Smith played 17 snaps on special teams versus the Browns and made a good impression. If he can overcome a thigh problem, then this could be the first time we see the player on the defensive rotation.