Carolina Panthers Player No. 1: John Miller (OL)
The Carolina Panthers go into the season with some significant doubts surrounding their ability to give quarterback Teddy Bridgewater the protection he needs to be successful. Up to three of the five offensive linemen starting could be new arrivals to the organization. And with little or no time to gel together before they get their campaign underway. It has made their job much more difficult.
They opted to trade away perennial Pro Bowler Trai Turner in exchange for veteran left tackle Russell Okung. And the Panthers are working with two new guards alongside center Matt Paradis, who also went through his fair share of struggles in 2019.
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How this patchwork group performs is going to have huge ramifications on Carolina’s gifted offense. It seems like a patchwork job from the front office given their lack of financial wiggle room. And this area of the roster is sure to come with plenty of personnel movement once again in 2021.
John Miller is one who was coveted highly by the Panthers during free agency. He eventually signed a one-year, $4 million deal with a $2 million signing bonus and a further $2 million guaranteed. And he is predicted to be cemented as a day one starter on the interior.
Whether Miller can instantly turn around their fortunes is up for debate. The lineman has secured grades of 58.6, 67.9, and 58.6 from Pro Football Focus over the last three seasons. And this suggests that he is a good if not spectacular protector.
It is hard not to look at Carolina’s offensive line and not consider it to be a weak link. There is every chance that Miller could surprise people and produce. But opposing defenses on the schedule will not make things easy for him in the coming months.