4 recent Carolina Panthers draft picks with their roster spots under threat in 2023

- The luckless QB

- The under-pressure WR

- The mammoth OL

- The athletic LB

Shi Smith
Shi Smith / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Brandon Smth - Carolina Panthers LB

When Brandon Smith was finally allocated defensive reps under interim head coach Steve Wilks last season, there were plenty of reasons for encouragement. The former fourth-round selection had the athleticism to become a sideline-to-sideline presence at the linebacker position, with his natural instincts and closing seed also coming across throughout his limited involvement.

This led many to believe he'd be in for a much bigger role under Frank Reich's new regime. However, the appointment of defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and his switch to a 3-4 base scheme has thrown these hopes into tatters.

Smith looks further down the depth chart than ever before thanks to the system change and Kamu Grugier-Hill's emergence. The Carolina Panthers also signed veteran Deion Jones last week to further solidify depth at the defensive scene level.

If nothing else, this has laid down the gauntlet to Smith in uncertain terms. The talent is there, but the questions surrounding why he didn't put it all together at Penn State seem to be rearing their ugly head again in the pros, too.

Again, Smh's fate might be dependent on how he fares with prominent preseason reps under his belt. But with others catching the eye at his position, the margin for error is now non-existent for someone with immense physical attributes at his disposal.