As the Carolina Panthers prepare for the upcoming season at Wofford College, some lesser-known players are fighting to expand their roles.
Players that are overlooked often emerge as solid contributors during training camp and often alter the outcome of their team's season.
Successful NFL teams need to be solid from top to bottom, meaning they need depth everywhere. The teams that perennially make the playoffs are the ones who can quickly replace an injured veteran.
The only certainty in the NFL is that every team will be bitten by the injury bug at some point, forcing underrated players to play at key moments.
Steve Smith was a sleeper entering the 2002 season, and he is now the best wide receiver in Carolina Panther history. In fact, Smith's spectacular performance during the 2003 postseason will never be forgotten by Panthers fans.
Is there another sleeper on this year's roster that could have a similar effect on the franchise?
There very well might be, and here is a handful of Panthers that are quietly on the rise.