3 surprising standouts from Carolina Panthers 2024 offseason workouts

These players did their chances a tremendous amount of good.
Ian Thomas
Ian Thomas / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Chau Smith-Wade - Carolina Panthers CB

There are some grave concerns surrounding the Carolina Panthers' roster that could jeopardize their chances of making legitimate strides under new head coach Dave Canales in 2024. The cornerback position is one of them.

The Panthers are light on depth and questions remain about each potential starting option. Those in power are banking heavily on Jaycee Horn staying injury-free and Dane Jackson emerging into a capable starter. Anything less comes with detrimental ramifications attached.

Carolina reportedly liked some of the early Day 2 cornerbacks before they began to come off the board. This led Dan Morgan into a shift, waiting until the No. 157 overall selection to bring Chau Smith-Wade into the fold.

Nobody is expecting miracles from the former Washington State star right out of the gate. Rookie cornerbacks tend to go through a harsher adjustment period than most unless they boast elite traits. Smith-Wade must get time to develop, but he made a promising start over early workouts according to those in attendance.

Canales spoke highly about Smith-Wade. The progressive coach highlighted the player's work ethic as something that caught the eye positively during his important transition based on comments via USA Today Sports.

"He’s a worker. The guys that we drafted, these guys are hard workers and tough football players. And that’s what we tried to do—is profile those type of guys that fit what we’re doing. He fits right in with the group. He’s active, he’s always workin’ on stuff, JUGS after practice and I just love his focus. He’s got a great smile, but then you see, like, he’s just locked in. And he’s really interested in what’s happening everywhere."

Dave Canales via USA Today Sports

This is always half the battle. Smith-Wade's got the athleticism and has the correct mindset to get better. How the Panthers use him over his rookie campaign remains to be seen, but he's done his chances a tremendous amount of good up to now.

Smith-Wade's progress when things get more intense throughout Carolina's training camp with be a better indicator of short-term objectives. For now, the Panthers must be thrilled with the young defensive back.