4 Panthers players that must respond positively in Week 3 vs. Saints

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Robbie Anderson
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Robbie Anderson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports) Shi Smith /

Shi Smith – Carolina Panthers WR/KR

The Carolina Panthers are putting plenty on Shi Smith’s plate in 2021. An outstanding training camp from the former sixth-round selection surged him up to No. 3 on the wide receiver depth chart, which has come with frequent targets and significant involvement for good measure.

This was richly deserved for Smith, who bounced back from an anonymous rookie campaign and offseason arrest. However, some concentration errors hindered the offense in Week 2 and this has to improve if the South Carolina product wants to maintain depth-chart status.

Smith has just two receptions from nine targets for 17 receiving yards through two games. He’s been credited with two drops, which could be all head coach Matt Rhule needs to give the likes of Terrace Marshall Jr. and Rashard Higgins playing time.

The absence of Higgins is bizarre, in all honesty. His previous connection with quarterback Baker Mayfield on the Cleveland Browns resulted in 10 touchdowns, so for the wideout not to have a single snap on offense at this stage is unacceptable.

Whether this takes away some involvement for Smith remains to be seen. But he must make more of opportunities when they arise for an offense that is severely lacking inspiration right now.