5 Carolina Panthers with the most to prove in 2020

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater /
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Russell Okung, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Russell Okung /

Pick Analysis. OT. RUSSELLOKUNG. player. Scouting Report. CAROLINA PANTHERS. 2. 87

Carolina Panthers Player No. 2: Russell Okung (OT)

The Carolina Panthers made a bold move by trading away perennial Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner to the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for veteran left tackle Russell Okung. The Super Bowl winner has enjoyed a standout career at the next level, But he arrives with plenty of questions surrounding his ability to contribute.

Okung is a strong protector at the top of his game. Injuries have significantly hampered his progress in recent seasons. And it remains to be seen whether the player can buck this concerning trend in the twilight of his career.

There is plenty riding on the season for Okung. He is heading into the final year of his deal and will be paid a $13 million base salary in 2020. The Panthers might decide this is just a short-term deal in their pursuit of being more prominent players on the free-agent market next spring. But if the tackle performs above expectations, this might alter their plans.

The former No. 6 overall pick will not be short of suitors if he eventually hits free agency. Okung managed just 257 snaps in 2019. But his 2018 form was good enough to earn the player a 78.4 grade from Pro Football Focus.

Okung will be tasked with providing quality play on the field and leadership off it. Much will depend on how his niggling injuries hold up during the campaign. But his current contract situation might see an increased sense of urgency as he looks to prove the doubters wrong.