5 Carolina Panthers players on the bubble heading into 2023 Preseason Week 1

These Carolina Panthers players have it all to do during preseason games in 2023.
Giovanni Ricci
Giovanni Ricci / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Brandon Smith - Carolina Panthers LB

Much like the situation with Amare Barno, adding a proven veteran on defense hasn't done Brandon Smith's chances of making the team any favors whatsoever. Something that looks especially challenging when one considers the smooth transition linebacker Deion Jones has made since joining the Carolina Panthers midway through training camp.

Assuming Jones is a lock to make the roster and Kamu Grugier-Hill's place is also assured after a phenomenal camp, it'll take a monumental effort from Smith. This is something most fans didn't see coming after the player's athleticism stood out considerably over the second half of 2022 under Steve Wilks.

For whatever reason, the new coaching staff isn't quite convinced by Smith. Whether it's to do with scheme fit under defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero or simply preferring others, things look particularly challenging for the former fourth-round selection out of Penn State.

Smith will look to fit in during the preseason heading into Year 2 of his professional career. The margin for error is slimmer than ever and if Grugier-Hill takes his practice performances into a game-day setting, the writing will be firmly on the wall.

Even if the Panthers don't put Smith onto their roster initially, he'd be a lock for the practice squad all things considered. Whether he'd clear waivers to make this a reality is the big question.