5 players already tumbling down the depth chart at Carolina Panthers training camp

There is work to do for these Carolina Panthers players at training camp.

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

Brandon Smith's spot was in doubt long before training camp began. The 2022 fourth-round selection flashed on the defensive rotation and special teams late over his rookie campaign, but the linebacker had to impress a new set of coaching eyes with no emotional attachment to him whatsoever.

Smith hasn't performed badly at training camp so far according to those in attendance. He's come up with an interception and looked explosive, but the moves made by the Carolina Panthers suggest those in power aren't viewing his overall prospects in a positive light.

First, it's evident from the first week of practice that Kamu Grugier-Hill has a role to play. The veteran free-agent signing was signed primarily for his special teams' production but has made his presence felt on the defensive rotation, leading Shaq Thompson to call for Carolina's staff to make room for his teammate.

If that wasn't bad enough, the Panthers signed Deion Jones immediately following his workout on Monday. The one-time Pro Bowler has some impressive traits that could also assist, which puts Smith firmly on the bubble until further notice.

Cutting ties with Smith after just one season is a big call to make. However, there is no room for sentiment when it comes to NFL roster building.

If defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero prefers others, the Smith will be traded or released entirely when the time for final cuts arrives.