Panthers Appear to be Retooling Entire Offensive Line

Steve Reed with the Gaston Gazette reports the Panthers may have different starters at all five positions this season.

The sources said the Panthers have already decided to move Travelle Wharton to left guard, Jordan Gross to left tackle and make Ryan Kalil the starting center. Keydrick Vincent, who agreed to a two-year contract with the Panthers on Monday, will battle with Justin Hartwig at right guard. As for right tackle, sources said the Panthers are strongly considering using their first-round pick in April’s NFL draft to grab one of a handful of outstanding college tackles — and then start that player right away.

I really like this scenario. If the Panthers are looking for a right tackle in the draft then there should be a good one available in the 2nd round such as Gosder Cherilus (BC), Carl Nicks (Neb) or Anthony Collins (Kansas). We could then use our #1 pick on DE or a RB. The Panthers may even be thinking of moving up in the draft:

General manager Marty Hurney, coach John Fox and other members of the staff were in Idaho meet-ing and working out highly rated Boise State offensive tackle Ryan Clady.

Clady is considered a top-10 pick, which would suggest the Panthers are looking to move up in the draft. The Panthers are slated to pick 13th, but they did acquire an extra third-round pick in the trade for Kris Jenkins, giving them some added flexibility to trade up.

I’m not so excited about moving up to get Ryan Clady. It will cost us another draft pick or two and I’m not so sure about Clady given he skipped the combine. I actually think there is a better chance he falls to the Panthers at #13.  I think what makes drafting an LT at #13 an option is the following:

If there’s one hitch in the plan it could be this: The Panthers might keep Gross at his more comfortable position at right tackle if the rookie they draft proves to be a quick study. However, the initial plan is to move Gross to left tackle because they don’t want to entrust a rookie to protecting Jake Delhomme’s blindside - at least not until they feel completely comfortable with that idea.

We certainly don’t like the thought of a rookie at LT either but I think Chris Williams is the safer pick in this scenario. He could play RT until they are comfortable and then switch he and Gross mid-season if that’s what Gross wants. I think Gross will welcome the switch since he is still not signed long-term. He will have more value on the market if he can play either position effectively (of course I expect the Panthers to lock him up long term).

I’m very excited to see the Panthers have determined to really shake things up on offense. The offense should have a completely different look next season.

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