Panthers No. 60: Are Branden Bowen’s injury problems behind him?

(Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images) Branden Bowen
(Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images) Branden Bowen /

Could former Ohio State offensive lineman Branden Bowen put concerns about his health to rest and earn a spot on the Carolina Panthers in 2020?

The Carolina Panthers need to get things together quickly if they are going to surprise people during the first year of their rebuild. We are now just 60 days away from their week one opener against the Las Vegas Raiders. And the team is also gearing up for their long-awaited return to training camp later this month.

Carolina does some have exciting parts to the roster that should stand them in good stead next season. Other positions come with some severe concerns that have the chance to hamper new Panthers’ head coach Matt Rhule as he looks to make an impression at the next level.

One such area is the offensive line. Three of the five starters could potentially be newcomers to the organization from day one. And what sort of chemistry that can muster in a short space of time will go a long way to determining their fortunes.

There are plenty of young prospects with little or no NFL experience also looking to stake their claim for a place on the 53-man roster. What comes next during the next few weeks will be crucial for the respective careers.

Continuing our countdown feature ahead of the new season, we now turn our attention to Carolina’s No. 60. Branden Bowen had the potential to be the next great tackle coming out of Ohio State. But a significant leg injury has hampered his progress and put his chances of forging a successful career in the NFL into doubt.

How will Branden Bowen’s injury impact his chances with the Panthers?

Bowen missed half of the 2017 season and the entire 2018 campaign thanks to a broken leg that required surgery and significant rehabilitation. The player worked exceptionally hard in order to make a return to the field in 2019. And he beat out Nicholas Petit-Frere for the starting right tackle spot.

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This represented a considerable achievement in itself. But Bowen more than held his own in the face of stern competition on an impressive-looking offensive line for the Buckeyes.

The player kept the pocket clean for star quarterback Justin Fields. But this failed to impress scouts enough. Bowen didn’t get an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine and failed to hear his name called in the Draft.

His name was not on the undrafted free-agent market for long. And Bowen will now get the chance to showcase his skill set in Carolina in a bid to earn a roster spot.

There is plenty to like about what Bowen brings to the table, providing his injury problems are in the past. He is a consistent protector on the line of scrimmage that possesses an impressive intelligence that really comes across in his play.

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The 6-foot-7 figure also has some nice physical traits to call upon. But there are some questions about his ability to block speed rushers on the edge when he gets into a professional environment.

Bowen has the scope to be a strong backup at the next level that could eventually win a starting job in the future. He will need to show more during what limited time the player is on the field during camp. And his cause will not be aided by a possible lack of preseason games.

The lineman can take plenty of confidence from his final season at Ohio State. This should alleviate some concerns regarding his injury history. But whether Bowen can cope with the rigors of the NFL is another matter entirely.

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