Carolina Panthers No. 71: Does Sam Tecklenburg have what it takes?

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Sam Tecklenburg
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Sam Tecklenburg /

Does offensive lineman Sam Tecklenburg have what it takes to make an impact on the Carolina Panthers in 2020?

It promises to be a season of tremendous intrigue for the Carolina Panthers in 2020. Their roster has been revamped in no uncertain terms. And prominent figures in the locker room have been moved on for the greater good.

This all represented a real statement of intent from the organization. Things have become stagnant for the Carolina Panthers since 2015. And it is important that they have a team worthy of competing by the time their ambitions off-field plans come to fruition in the coming years.

The franchise has placed a tremendous amount of faith in Matt Rhule to lead them back to prominence. It is going to take time. But there is enough talent on both sides of the ball to ensure that they will be at least competitive next season despite their tough division and the overall difficulty of the schedule.

Continuing our countdown feature ahead of the new season, we now turn our attention to Carolina’s No. 71. Sam Tecklenburg is no stranger to Rhule from their time together at Baylor. And if anyone knows what the offensive lineman can bring to the NFL, it will be the Panthers’ new man at the helm.

Tecklenburg has enjoyed a colorful route into the NFL, to say the least. He initially indicated no desire to become a professional and retired prior to the draft. But Rhule has convinced him to give it a shot in the NFL given his supreme skill set.

He initially began his career at Baylor as a tight end, before moving across to the line. This sort of versatility is something that has been coveted prominently by Carolina throughout the offseason, And it might be enough to give him a head start in his bid to make the 53-man roster.

Can Sam Tecklenburg become a useful player for the Carolina Panthers?

The player is going into an area of the field that represents some serious concern for the Carolina Panthers. They were unable to protect sufficiently in 2019. And it remains to be seen whether new arrivals Russell Okung, John Miller, and Michael Schofield can improve their fortunes.

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There also appears to be a distinct lack of depth, especially on the interior. So this represents another opportunity that Tecklenburg might be able to take advantage of. He will need to improve his footwork and hand placement at the next level. But he is one of the more intriguing players with no NFL experience heading into training camp this year.

Whether he will get the chance to showcase his skills on the field is another matter. The NFL is planning to trim rosters during cam to ensure safety. And this might leave Tecklenburg on the outside looking in.

This would represent a blow to the player’s new-found ambitions to forge a professional career in the league. And although it is a far from ideal situation. It is one that has become the nature of the beast in the current climate.

His familiarity with Rhule might see him avoid this. But whether he can prove he has what it takes to secure a long-term commitment is another matter entirely.

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