3 Carolina Panthers role players entering career-defining seasons in 2024

Ihmir Smith-Marsette
Ihmir Smith-Marsette / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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If the Carolina Panthers want to make improvements under new head coach Dave Canales, they need everyone pulling in the same direction. Every coach, every player, and every front-office figure must do their part. That's the only way this once-proud franchise will emerge from rock bottom and get the league's respect once again.

Canales was suitably impressed with the application of his players over early workouts. The head coach also knows there is a long way to go before his objectives are met. Anyone not pulling their weight won't last long. After almost a decade of underachievement, carrying passengers is no longer an option.

Some will be tasked with more than others. But it's a long season. Those further down the pecking order must be ready to step in at a moment's notice to ensure no momentum is lost.

It's a big challenge, but not unattainable by any stretch. With this in mind, here are three Panthers role players facing career-defining seasons in 2024.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette - Carolina Panthers WR/KR

There's a lot of self-confidence within Ihmir Smith-Marsette. The versatile offensive weapon believes he can be a major factor if given the chance. Opportunities haven't been frequent during his time in the NFL so far, but his flashes with the Carolina Panthers late last season more than warranted another look.

Smith-Marsette can line up anywhere and make plays. He's dynamic with the football in his hands and also makes things happen in the return game. This makes him an intriguing option for head coach Dave Canales as part of his creative schematic concepts.

Everything is pointing up for Smith-Marsette despite Carolina strengthening the wide receiver room considerably. However, this is the year he must establish himself.

Talk is cheap. Smith-Marsette feels hard done by so far. Using this as extra motivation is crucial in pursuit of an extended stay beyond the current campaign.

If not, expect the Panthers to go in a different direction next spring.