First and foremost, kudos to the Panthers organization for being open-minded enough to allow their social team to film and release parts of the draft process that usually kept under lock and key. In their recent video, which you can watch here, the team offers a glimpse into the goings on of listening to trade offers, drafting Jaycee Horn, trading for Sam Darnold, trading Teddy Bridgewater, and making the other trades and picks on days two and three of the NFL Draft. It’s a very well-done piece, and I highly recommend watching it in its entirety.
What jumped out at me, however, was a quick comment by Matt Rhule when he and general manager Scott Fitterer were discussing drafting BYU offensive lineman Brady Christensen. In discussing whether or not to take Christensen, Rhule mentions that the staff had the lineman rated as a third round tackle and a second round guard. This plays into comments Rhule made shortly after the draft about Christensen, where he mentioned that the team believed he could be an elite guard down the road if he doesn’t work out at tackle.
This might be a little disappointing for those members of the fan base who rejoiced when Christensen was taken, elated at the idea that the post-Gross woes at left tackle might finally be fixed long term. Putting all the puzzle pieces together, it seems more likely that Christensen competes for the left tackle spot but won’t be rushed into action. An even more likely scenario is that Christensen spends at least his rookie season being an uber-athletic backup at four offensive line positions. Before everyone grabs their pitchforks and torches and heads down to Mint Street, remember that this was just the No. 70 overall pick. You can’t expect a third round pick to start and perform well at left tackle from Day 1. Christensen has the athletic tools to become a fantastic tackle, but even if he slides inside to guard and plays at a high level there, that’s OK, too.