04 April 2012
Yet another low-key signing was made by GM Marty Hurney today as he signed safety Reggie Smith. For those who are unfamiliar with him, Smith was a 3rd round pick by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2008 draft. He started seven games at strong safety for the Niners in 2010 but played behind Dashon Goldson in a back-up role for most of last season.
Smith is a very talented defender and was great as a cornerback at Oklahoma University, he has yet to define himself as a starter at the NFL level yet, though. He is only 25 and did play well in the games he started during the 2010 season. It's also very possible that he could have been the starter last year if the 49ers didn't re-sign Goldson, so the door is still open for him to be starting in the NFL. It doesn't appear that the Panthers got themselves a future star, but it's never a bad things to acquire depth at safety, especially after last season.
The Panthers didn't exactly receive stellar play out of either Charles Godfrey or Sherrod Martin last season and Jordan Pugh is really nothing more than a depth option, so adding a player like Smith gives them more depth at a position of need. We saw them make a similar signing by acquiring former Baltimore Raven, Haruki Nakamura at the start of free agency.
Nakamura and Smith are capable of starting in this defense and Martin could definitely use some competition after going into last season as the incumbent starter and failing to live up to a lot of people's expectations. Smith and Nakamura should be competing for the starting spot in camp and even if they don't make it, they provide solid depth options and can contribute on special teams, as well.