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NFC South Top 25: No. 21

We continue my NFC South Top 25 with No. 21:

Steve Smith, wide receiver, Carolina Panthers

What he did in 2012: He caught 73 passes for 1,174 yards and four touchdowns.

Why he’s No. 21 in 2013: Smith is 34 now and logic says he should be slowing down. But I’m not buying into that because Smith has been defying logic his entire career. The Panthers won six of their final nine games last year and it’s no coincidence that Smith’s four touchdowns all came in that span. The other thing that happened in that span was that the coaching staff went back to a more conventional style of offense and let quarterback Cam Newton be a quarterback while letting the running backs do the running. I’m expecting even more of that this season and that should only benefit Smith because he is Newton’s go-to receiver.

For previous entries in the NFC South top 25, click here.