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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Shi Smith - Carolina Panthers WR

This time of year is all about the numbers game. Everywhere you look around the league teams have stronger position groups than others, which usually comes with players being released that would have been roster locks elsewhere.

That's what the waiver wire is for, after all. Something general manager Scott Fitterer is likely to scour immediately after cuts to see if there is a diamond or two that can assist the Carolina Panthers next season.

Despite trading D.J. Moore to the Chicago Bears, the Panthers look pretty strong at the wide receiver spot. One could make a strong case for the first five places being locked up at this stage of preparations, which plunges the aspirations of Shi Smith and others into question heading into the business end of camp.

Smith is a curious case. On one hand, the former sixth-round selection has the elusiveness and crisp route-running needed to carve out a role for himself, but it just hasn't clicked fully as yet and this coaching staff won't sit around and wait on the off chance he makes it happen this time around.

The Panthers would be wise to give Smith all he can handle in the preseason and see how he gets on. But with competition fierce, a situation could emerge where the one-time South Carolina is released when the time for final cuts arrives.

That could prick the ears of a few other teams in need of assistance. So all hope wouldn't be lost for Smith if this situation came to fruition.