4 Carolina Panthers fan favorites in danger of being cut before Week 1

- The struggling WR

- RB surprise?

- Hybrid problems?

- Pass-rusher outcast

Giovanni Ricci
Giovanni Ricci / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 4

Shi Smith - Carolina Panthers WR

It's become increasingly crowded within the Carolina Panthers wide receiver room after D.J. Moore was the sacrifice needed to land the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. Adam Thielen, D.J. Chark, and Jonathan Mingo were all acquired to offset such an important departure, which increases competition for roster places significantly further down the pecking order.

One could make a strong case for five places being locked in before camp. That leaves the rest fighting for one or two positions depending on how many pass-catchers Frank Reich decides to take through onto his 53-man roster.

Shi Smith is one such figure that must step up his consistency when the pads go on at training camp. The former sixth-round pick out of South Carolina will be nervously looking over his shoulder before his fate is sealed, but the rise in standards across the board could provide enough urgency for the wideout to make strides.

Flashing promise occasionally is no longer an option for Smith. He must capitalize on every target coming his way at camp and during preseason games, which might be enough for the Panthers to give him one more shot at proving his worth on the roster.

Should he be found wanting and others thrive, a situation could easily emerge where Smith is cut loose with no financial ramifications attached. That would be nothing short of disastrous for his overall NFL career outlook.