Let’s start with Smith being asked about the speculation the Panthers might choose a wide receiver early in the draft. Smith took the conversation in a direction you might not have anticipated from a guy who clearly has been Carolina’s No. 1 wide receiver for a long time.
“I would like a younger guy to come in and eventually take my spot,’’ Smith said. “I don’t want to be a No. 1 anymore. I don’t want to be a guy who can’t let go of something he’s got to let go. I would like to be a guy that can play in the slot all day, and I would like some of these young guys to start doing some of the out routes like I was doing for Moose and Ricky when I was fresh legged and when I didn’t know what I was doing, and really start to develop and start handing over the torch.’’
Let’s be careful here and emphasize that Smith used the word “eventually." With that in mind, the man’s got a point. He is about to turn 31 and, although he’s shown no signs of slowing down yet, it would be nice to have a successor in place. The idea about using Smith in the slot is intriguing, but the Panthers have to get some other receivers to be able to do that.
It also was very interesting to hear Smith’s answer when asked about teammate Dwayne Jarrett, who has never quite reached the potential the Panthers saw when they used a second-round draft pick on him. Smith has been critical of Jarrett before and, in this answer, I think Smith was being brutally honest.
“I think what you’re going to see out of Dwayne Jarrett is what Dwayne Jarrett wants to show,’’ Smith said.” I think he’s improving, but at the same time, this game comes and goes so quickly with players that if a guy doesn’t show what he has at some point, the game is going to pass them by.’’