4 Carolina Panthers players who desperately need to develop in 2023

(Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images) Shi Smith
(Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images) Shi Smith /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shi Smith /

Shi Smith – Carolina Panthers WR

Despite the Carolina Panthers producing very little consistency from the wide receiver room aside from D.J. Moore, opportunities remained at a premium for Shi Smith. The sixth-round selection was expected to occupy slot responsibilities after a strong training camp, but this never amounted to sufficient targets in a competitive environment.

Obviously, the constant stream of quarterback failures didn’t help anybody. But there was a distinct lack of trust from offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo to feature Smith prominently within his predictable system.

There were moments of quality – most notably against the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, finishing with just 296 receiving yards and two touchdowns was disappointing all things considered.

The former South Carolina star is a threat with the football in his hands and can help in the return game. Impressing new head coach Frank Reich is the next big challenge, but it might just be the fresh start Smith is looking for now that Matt Rhule and McAdoo are no longer around.

If anyone can bring the best out of Smith, it’s Reich. Whether the wideout can make the improvements needed to force his way into the coach’s plans or not is the big question.

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