With free agency completely over, the rest of the roster of the Carolina Panthers will be determined completely by training camp battles…
Andrew Norwell, an outstanding undrafted free agent that the Panthers picked up in 2014, left in free agency for the big bucks.
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As a result, the Carolina Panthers have a serious hole in their offensive line. There are several candidates that will be competing for the starting role.
- Greg Van Roten: An extremely versatile lineman that has filled in for several injuries along the line. He has had experience playing in Green Bay, overseas in Europe, and now in Carolina. A hulk of a man at 6′ 3″ and 305 lbs, Van Roten possesses the size necessary to play at left guard.
- Tyler Larsen: Signed off of the practice squad in 2014, Larsen has seen a lot of time at center replacing the often-injured Ryan Khalil. However, Larson has the physical ability to man any of the interior positions of the O-line. At 6′ 4″ and 325 lbs, Larsen is just short enough that the 6′ 6″ Cam Newton can look over him to his receivers down the field.
- Taylor Moton: A second-round pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2017, Moton has the highest draft pedigree of the three. For good reason too, Moton stands at a monstrous 6′ 5″ and 325 lbs.
The predicted winner of this training camp battle is Taylor Moton. This is not just due to his high draft profile, Moton just possesses the best size and athleticism to get the job done. Essentially a tackle playing at guard, Moton projects to be a beautiful addition to the Panthers’ offensive line. Also, Moton was projected to be a tackle for the Panthers, the most athletic position on the line, but Daryl Williams shined.
With Van Roten, there is a concern with his propensity to bounce around from team to team. If he was a truly viable starter, wouldn’t he have been able to hold his own in Green Bay?
Also with Larsen, a major concern is his apparent lack of athleticism. According to NFL Draft Analysis Nolan Nawrocki, Larsen is “Not explosive or powerful” and possesses “Very average athleticism and flexibility to maneuver and torque.”
For a team trying to protect Cam Newton, Larsen doesn’t seem to be a great fit, especially with the re-made defensive lines of the NFC South. Plus, I like the idea of having Larsen as an in-house replacement for Ryan Kalil.
This will certainly be a battle to watch throughout the course of training camp.