Carolina Panthers: Is OL Chris Reed more than just a backup?
Can Chris Reed become more than just a backup offensive lineman for the Carolina Panthers in 2020?
The Carolina Panthers go into the 2020 season with more questions than answers surrounding their offensive line. Up to three of the five starting options could be new to the organization. And it is essential that they come together during their limited time in training camp to ensure success.
This is expected to be a crucial element to the Panthers and their chances of mounting anything like a challenge in 2020. They have some outstanding weapons on offense going into the campaign. But if quarterback Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t get enough time in the pocket, then it could be a problem.
Chris Reed didn’t see much action for the Panthers in 2019 after he was picked up off waivers following his brief stint with the Miami Dolphins. However, the player did perform well when called upon and goes into camp as a strong backup at the very least.
The former undrafted prospect out of Minnesota State received an impressive grade of 70.3 from Pro Football Focus in 2019 after giving up one sack and two penalties from 104 snaps. Carolina’s lack of real depth at the position is something Reed can use to his advantage. And although there are plenty of young players looking to make a name for themselves. His experience is something that will stand him in good stead over the coming weeks.
Reed should now be entering the prime of his career. He is an imposing figure at the top of his game. But his recovery skills are not what one normally associates with a consistent NFL interior lineman.
Could Chris Reed earn an unlikely starting spot with the Carolina Panthers?
New head coach Matt Rhule has formed a roster that has the potential to excite next season. It has a far more athletic look to the one that ended the 2019 campaign so dismally. And how the team gets on during a daunting schedule next time around will go a long way to determining just how long their rebuild is going to take.
Reed has a role to play if he performs to the level that the player is capable of. The likes of John Miller, Michael Schofield, and even Dennis Daley project to be above him on the depth chart. But it is vital for every NFL team to have solid backup offensive line options that can step in and produce right away.
This is an area of the field that tends to come with more injuries than elsewhere. Big bodies are falling on each other almost constantly. So if Reed does enough to impress the Panthers’ coaching staff during a critical few weeks before competitive action gets underway. It is hard not to see the guard becoming involved at some stage.
The player is heading into the final year of his deal in Carolina and will make $1.37 million in base salary. How Reed performs between now and next spring will ultimately determine his future with the franchise. But there appears to be a significant opportunity for any interior lineman that makes an eye-catching contribution at training camp.