4 bold predictions for the Carolina Panthers vs. NY Jets in Preseason Week 1

Some bold predictions involving the Carolina Panthers for their warmup opener at Bank of America Stadium.
Matt Corral
Matt Corral / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages
2 of 4

Carolina Panthers LB Brandon Smith gets 10 tackles

There are only a few players with as much at stake heading into the preseason as Brandon Smith. The linebacker finds himself buried down the unofficial depth chart - which has to be taken with a big pinch of salt - but the recent acquisitions and Ejiro Evero's switch to a 3-4 base scheme mean his future with the Carolina Panthers hangs in the balance.

Considering how Smith flashed on the backend of 2022 under Steve Wilks, this might be a surprise. But it is a new coaching staff with ongoing fresh evaluations, so it looks like Deion Jones and Kamu Grugier-Hill have surpassed the former fourth-round selection as it stands currently.

Smith has his work cut out, there's no getting away from that. However, the Penn State product has the physicality to potentially make an impression if he applies himself with supreme commitment during warmup games.

The coaching staff will give Smith a lot of reps in the second half once the starters come out. How he performs will go a long way to determining whether he makes the 53-man roster - although there are two more game-day environments to turn things around.

Giving up on Smith this early in his career seems harsh. But there is no sentiment when it comes to professional NFL minds and building a genuine contender, so gaining 10 tackles would be a good place to start.