It may be the time to start looking for a future left tackle.
The Carolina Panthers did not send their offensive line staff to Oklahoma for the Sooners' pro day, but Gil Brandt of NFL Network reports that Lane Johnson will work out privately for the organization.
Jordan Gross is sitting on a large cap figure, and there are no indications he's restructuring his deal at this time. While the team are in no position to enter the 2013 season without a starting left tackle, finding one in the draft would be an ideal scenario that allows them to groom a player over the course of the year, then ease him into a starting role.
Standing at an impressive 6-6, 302-pounds it's Johnson's athleticism that makes him appealing at the top of the first round. CBS Sports compares him to San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley, and say the following about his ability:
Johnson looks the part with a large frame and long arms (35"). He has quick feet to mirror and has an effortless kick-slide. Explosive off the snap and sets up quickly, using his extremely wide base to cover a large area. He digs his cleats in the turf and lowers his butt in pass protection with the strong upper body to control defenders.
Johnson does a nice job using his length to keep rushers at bay and uses his physical limbs to eliminate defenders with his nasty attitude. He has large, powerful hands and usually keeps his hands inside. Natural bender with flexible joints, contorting his frame and selling out for blocks. He locks out and seals defenders on the edge, doing a nice job engaging in space to create run lanes.
Every review isn't glowing, however, as detractors point to a fairly raw play-style that lacks refinement. It's not that Johnson is bad in these areas, but his posture and strength all need to improve in order to become a true NFL left tackle.
Like Sharrif Floyd before him, Lane Johnson represents the almost-assuredly unattainable. Multiple teams in the top ten need offensive line help, and with more of these organizations fixing their defensive woes through free agency, it seems near-impossible that Johnson would last until the 14th pick. Most outlets don't have him making it past the San Diego Chargers and their 11th selection.
The positive to take away is that the team recognize their weaknesses this time around. Now there's the long wait to see how it all plays out.