We’re 70 days away from the Carolina Panthers 2021 season opener, so that means today’s countdown piece is devoted to No. 70 on the roster — offensive tackle Brady Christensen.
The Panthers have a good problem on their hands.
The question is, what position will he play?
Back in May we wrote that at least one analyst was pegging Christensen in as the Panthers’ starting left tackle.
CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso named the rookie Christensen as his number six “instant impact rookie” heading into the 2021 season.
Here’s what Trapasso said:
Quietly, Christensen is the likely Week 1 starter for the Panthers at left tackle, protecting Sam Darnold. Sure, he’ll battle it out with 2019 second-round pick Greg Little, but the former Ole Miss star hasn’t come close to meeting expectations early in his NFL career and has no connections to the current Carolina staff.
But only two weeks ago, Sports Illustrated suggested that Christensen could end up starting at right tackle, seemingly paving the way for Panthers franchise tackle Taylor Moton to move to the left side.
“We think he’s a right tackle,” Panthers head coach Matt Rhule told Sports Illustrated. “He certainly has the ability to be on the left but I think most of us would like to have more length over on the left side. So, he’s playing right tackle but I think he can be a guy that can go inside and be an excellent guard. I’ve been really pleased with him and his ability to play tackle. When we drafted him we thought, hey, there’s a guy that’s going to find a place to play and I feel good about him out there.”
It could mean one of two things, noted Sports Illustrated.
“One, Christensen will be stuck sitting behind Taylor Moton until they feel like they could use Chistensen’s help more at guard. Or they plan to groom him into the starting right tackle role and flip Moton over to the left side. However, Rhule also stated earlier in the week that despite giving Moton some reps at left tackle, the plan is to keep him on the right side. He’s been so dominant at that spot and has played there for so long that switching now would be very difficult.”
Back in May, Cat Scratch Readers’ Bradley Smith told me that Christensen’s arm length issue could prove to be a problem at tackle.
“The only knock on Christensen seems to be his arm length, at 32 1/4 inches. He can make up for it with technique, but there’s a decent chance he ends up being a guard,” Smith said at the time.
This is probably a better than a worse problem to have. At the least, it signals that Carolina views Christensen as someone who will see the field. At most, it signals that they view him as a future starter on the line. Only time will tell where.