Brandon Smith - Carolina Panthers LB
Switching to a 3-4 base defense with creative alignments depending on the specific situation was seen as a potential benefit for Brandon Smith. Instead, the second-year linebacker is in danger of being something of a forgotten man amid all the newfound optimism that's enveloped the Carolina Panthers this offseason.
Smith has been working with the second and third-string units throughout early workouts. While not unexpected considering the Panthers are going to start Shaq Thompson and Frankie Luvu on the second-level interior, it only lays down the gauntlet in pursuit of impressing a coaching staff that wasn't around when he was drafted.
It'll be difficult, there's no getting away from that. But the former Penn State star flashed when given reps towards the end of 2022 under Steve Wilks and has the athletic intangibles needed to become impactful on defense and special teams with a strong camp in Spartanburg.
Last year's fourth-round selection was a little rough around the edges in terms of technique and gap discipline against the run. Now that Smith has the benefit of working alongside a legitimate coaching staff with proven credentials, positive developments should occur quickly if the player displays the right mindset from the moment he steps onto the Wofford College practice field.
If Smith meets specific targets, then a core rotational role won't be too far behind.