Carolina Panthers: Offensive line improvement ranked by PFF
Pro Football Focus highlights improved Carolina Panthers offensive line.
After watching the Carolina Panthers offensive line be decimated by injuries last season, the looming retirement of Ryan Kalil raised serious concerns about the state of their unit. Protecting franchise quarterback Cam Newton remains a priority and general manager Marty Hurney is focused on making the moves in order to ensure things are improved next season.
In just three moves, Hurney is already earning credit for his reconstruction process that is assumed to be still incomplete. While Carolina has added two lineman and released another, there remains a strong possibility another tackle or interior lineman, perhaps both, could be added next month via the NFL Draft.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Panthers current moves have been strong enough to land them in the conversation as one of the five most improved groups across the league. Not known for making “splash” signings during the free agency period, Hurney did create a sprinkle by getting former Denver Broncos center Matt Paradis – a move that definitely has potential.
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In fact, while it may be hard for Panthers fans to view it as an improvement over Kalil, PFF calls it, “a significant upgrade.” Coupled with the other two moves, their complete evaluation also highlighted the release of left tackle Matt Kalil.
"The move to cut Matt Kalil itself might have been enough for Carolina to make this list, but when you pair it with signing center Matt Paradis and re-upping right tackle Daryl Williams, Cam Newton can rest easy. Paradis was a top-three-graded center before he went on IR last year and has been consistently one of the best centers in the NFL ever since the Broncos won the Super Bowl. To get him for under $10 million a year was a steal, and he’ll be a significant upgrade from the now retired Ryan Kalil. Williams’ injury woes look a bit more serious, but he was a top-five-graded right tackle his last full season of 2017."
Electing to re-sign Daryl Williams was also a quality move, bringing back an experienced lineman who was on a positive trajectory before being injured last season. If he returns to form and fellow tackle Taylor Moton secures the blind side, then any rookies should be given an opportunity to develop before being thrust into action.
The Panthers have undoubtedly made a commitment to improving up front on both sides of the football and while it’s unknown how these changes will impact play until the season arrives, they seem to definitely be headed in the right direction.
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