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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Shi Smith - Carolina Panthers WR

Shi Smith had an outstanding camp by all accounts. A long-term hamstring injury to Damiere Byrd also helps his chances of making the 53-man roster for Year 3 of his professional career.

Smith is an interesting case. His athletic skills and working under improved coaches could bring about more in terms of consistency, but generating targets might be a problem with the top-five wide receivers all but cemented.

Adam Thielen, D.J. Chark, Terrace Marshall Jr., Jonathan Mingo, and Laviska Shenault Jr. are the locks. That leaves perhaps one spot for someone else - so it's imperative Smith leaves no doubt whatsoever throughout the preseason.

He'll likely get some opportunities to thrive and Matt Corral is a better No. 3 quarterback than most, which is another positive. The likes of Derek Wright, Gary Jennings, and Javon Wims are also competing hard for involvement, so it'll be fascinating to see how things unfold in the coming weeks.

The heightened sense of urgency surrounding Smith saw the former sixth-rounder out of South Carolina come up with some eye-catching plays at Wofford College. That was step one of the challenge - showing out against other players around the league fighting for jobs during warmup games is the next big test facing the wideout.

The talent is there. But now is the time for Smith to step up.