Winner No. 1
Ihmir Smith-Marsette - Carolina Panthers KR
A cryptic social media post from Ihmir Smith-Marsette earlier this week indicated a certain level of unhappiness with his current usage. The dynamic presence has caught the eye on occasions in the return game, but there hasn't been much in the way of reps on the offensive rotation to call upon since his trade before final cuts.
However, he found one way to get noticed in Week 10 against the Chicago Bears.
Smith-Marsette wasted no time in making his presence felt. The former fifth-round selection took a 79-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter, which was exactly the spark that the Carolina Panthers had been looking for from their special teams.
This was a huge step in the right direction for Smith-Marsette, whose absence from the wide receiver rotation has been bemusing when one considers how much others are struggling in this area. Whether this exceptional house call is enough for the Panthers to think differently about his role moving forward remains to be seen.
Acquiring Smith-Marsette from the Kansas City Chiefs for a late-round pick swap was a low-risk, high-reward pickup by the Panthers. If the player builds on this newfound momentum and maintains the same level of consistency, the ex-Iowa standout might be able to carve out a decent niche for himself long-term.