The Carolina Panthers have plenty of open starting positions on the roster to resolve before the start of the 2020 season. Several of them are on the offensive line, but unlike the past few seasons the openings are not on the edges. The tackle positions appear set with Russell Okung at left tackle and Taylor Moton at right tackle, which is a weird feeling for me. Usually it was the other way around.
In 2020 the concern is the middle of the line where the Panthers need an upgrade at center, and stability at the guard positions. Free agent Matt Paradis has underwhelmed so far at center in Carolina. Paradis is no sure thing to start, but represents the veteran choice. Our other choice is Tyler Larson. If Larson is going to break into the starting lineup, this is his year. Neither option brings me much confidence.
I have a little more confidence with the options at guard. For the first time since 2013, All Pro Trai Turner is not at right guard so we need a new starter there. The Panthers brought in veteran free agent right guard John Miller, but he is no lock to start. Veteran Chris Reed is another option but he barely played in 2019. At left guard a more likely starter is Michael Schofield. Schofield, a seven year veteran left guard who last played for the Los Angeles Chargers was a top-10 performer in pass blocking. Here’s their Pro Football Focus grades:
If the choice is to go with the veteran players then this is the Panthers starting offensive line:
Okung (LT) Schofield (LG) Paradis (C) Miller (RG) Moton (RT)
The other scenario is the ‘Get the five best players on the field’ methodology. This is where one of the young tackles moves inside to guard, which is very common. In that scenario, second-year player Greg Little could be a factor to play one of the guard spots. I’m thinking left guard. Same with Dennis Daley at right guard, who got a lot of snaps as a rookie last year at guard and tackle.
This could be the five best players on the field option.
Okung (LT) Little (LG) Paradis (C) Daley (RG) Moton (RT)
At least in this scenario I would feel better about the way we have spent our draft capital. If Little can’t break into this line up at guard then I wonder what his upside is. A back-up or swing tackle for now seems to be it.
What is your prediction for the Panthers offensive line?