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The Carolina Panthers offensive line depth chart has become a little more clear now that the OTA practices have come to an end and the Panthers Mini-Camp is set to begin. Here is how the depth chart is shaking out according to my eyes and notes... Left Tackle Michael Oher - Biggest question mark on the entire team. Jonathan Martin - Looking to revitalize his career Martin Wallace - Has earned a few second string reps David Foucault - On the bubble Right Tackle Mike Remmers - Has also spent limited reps at second string center) Daryl Williams (R) - Getting plenty of one on one coaching Nate Chandler - Chandler hasn't practiced, recovering from injury, slight speculation here. Left Guard Andrew Norwell - Future pro bowler? Amini Silatolu - Last year's starter Tyronne Green - 5th year journeyman our of Auburn, injury issues. Right Guard Trai Turner - Road grading guard Chris Scott - Appears to be in good shape, can also backup tackle position Jordan McCray - Tryout player looking for a chance Center Ryan Kalil - Leader of the offense. Brian Folkerts - Solid backup, used as TE on some rhino packages Ronald Patrick - South Carolina kid looking for a NFL home. Taking a quick glance of this lineup, it is easy even for the most casual fans to see a tremendous upgrade over the offensive line from this time last season. Three of the five starting offensive line positions have been upgraded tremendously (Remmers, Turner, Norwell) and the jury is still out on one position (Oher). The quality of depth found is also much improved with former starters moving back to backup positions where they probably should have been to begin with.
The Carolina Panthers offensive line depth chart has become a little more clear now that the OTA practices have come to an end and the Panthers Mini-Camp is set to begin. Here is how the depth chart is shaking out according to my eyes and notes... View full article
It is obvious to even the most casual fan that the Carolina Panthers need a major upgrade at left tackle in 2015. Not so clear, however, is where to find that player. I decided to take the top ten left tackles, as graded by Pro Football Focus, and see if a bit of profiling could help determine where elite left tackles come from and how they got there. (Yes, I am aware PFF is not the absolute truth in terms of performance, but for this exercise it is good enough) Turns out, the results were a mixed bag. Jason Peters - Philadelphia Eagles - Arkansas - UDFA 2004 - 6'4 328 Peters spent some time on the Buffalo practice squad early, was cut once, and eventually earned time at right tackle. He started at right tackle for the Bills in 2006. In 2007 he was a pro bowl left tackle. He has been a stud ever since even after an achilles injury in 2012. Andrew Whitworth - Cincinatti Bengals - LSU - Round 2 (55) 2006 - 6'7 334 Whitworth spent most of his time at left guard until 2009, three years after being drafted late in round two. He then moved to left tackle and performed well. Joe Thomas - Cleveland Browns - Wisconsin - Round 1 (3) 2007 - 6'6 313 Joe Thomas started at LT from the moment he was drafted third overall and performed well ever since. Joe Stayley - San Francisco 49ers - Central Michigan - Round 1 (28) 2007 6'5 306 Joe Stayley started at right tackle after he was taken late in the first round of 2007 where he performed well. He started at left tackle one year later in 2008 and had mixed results. He didn't come into his own at left tackle until 2012 (5 years after being drafted). Kelvin Beachum - Pittsburgh Steelers - Southern Methodist - Round 7 (248) 2012 6'3 306 Kelvin Beachum saw some playing time at right tackle after he was drafted in 2012, where he performed poorly. In 2013 he moved over to left tackle due to injuries along the line. He actually performed adequately then. Beachum started every game in 2014 and had positive numbers in every game. Tyron Smith - Dallas Cowboys - USC - Round 1 (9) 2011 - 6'5 307 Tyron Smith started at right tackle for the entire 2011 season where he performed well. He started at left tackle in 2012 and had mixed results. In 2013 he performed much better and ended with high ratings. Donald Penn - Oakland Raiders - Utah State - UDFA 2006 - 6'4 317 Domald Penn too over at left tackle in 2007 due to injuries for Tampa Bay and performed well. He was an above average left tackle from then on. He had his best season as a pro in 2014 with Oakland. Branden Albert - Miami Dolphins - Virginia - Round 1 (15) 2008 - 6'6 309 Branden Albert started at left tackle right of the gate in 2008 and has had mixed results until 2010 when he started to improve. He was having the best season of his career in 2014 until he tore his ACL and MCL in week 10. Jared Veldheer - Arizona Cardinals - Hillsdale - Round 3 (69) 2010 - 6'6 315 Jared Veldheer was actually slated to start at center, but was moved to left tackle his rookie year. He won the starting job by midseason. Duane Brown - Houston Texans - Virginia Tech - Round 1 (26) 2008 - 6'4 315 Duane Brown split time at left tackle and ended with poor grades overall his rookie season. He started performing well in 2010, two years after being drafted, So what information can we draw from this if the Panthers aspire to have a top ten left tackle? I would say.... - If you have a top ten pick, you might get a stud left tackle right out of the gate. Unfortunately, the Panthers pick much later - Half of the top ten left tackles are first round draft picks. That is a pretty strong trend. - Three of the top ten left tackles are either a 7th round pick or undrafted, emphasizing the fact that once you leave the first round... there is little difference in the rest of the prospects. Whats the difference in a 4th round tackle and a UDFA tackle? Not much, apparently. - The left tackles taken near the Panthers selection either played at right tackle or struggled a bit their rookie year at left, but ended up being well worth the wait. Luckily for the Panthers, this years draft is said to be especially deep for offensive tackles. It is very possible that a top 15 pick in other years could fall to 26 this year, increasing the chances for a franchise left tackle. - Jason Peters early career resembles that of Panthers right tackle Mike Remmers.... (just sayin), So the Panthers might actually have their future LT on the roster already, crazier things have happened. Remmers played well once he was called upon, just like Peters. Conclusion? It seems like there may be another perfect storm for the Panthers. Last year a top need was receiver, and the best player available was a receiver. This is an ideal scenario. This season the best player on the board could very well be an offensive tackle. If that ends up being the case, the Panthers will pull the trigger on a tackle. From there, it would be wise to start the rookie tackle at right tackle and allow Remmers and possibly a free agent compete for the left tackle position. This arrangement would at the very least be a marked improvement over the Chandler/Bell experiment from last season.