Carolina Panthers: 4 new individual battles to watch against the Saints
Carolina Panthers Matchup No. 2: Russell Okung vs Marcus Davenport
The Carolina Panthers made a bold move to trade for veteran left tackle Russell Okung in exchange for perennial Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner this offseason. While it might be a boost for Teddy Bridgewater’s blindside if the Super Bowl winner has returned to full health, it has left more questions than answers surrounding their interior protection.
Okung will need to play well to give the Panthers any chance of succeeding next season. They have some outstanding offensive weapons. But if Bridgewater doesn’t get enough time to go through his reads, it is going to be a real problem.
There are plenty of stiff challenges ahead for Okung, who will make $13 million in base salary during the final year of his deal in 20020. One significant threat is posed by New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport.
The 2018 first-round pick has steadily become a real force on the edge opposite Cameron Jordan. And a huge leap during his third season is not out of the realms of possibility.
Davenport could be a matchup nightmare for Okung thanks to his explosive burst and power off the block. The tackle isn’t expected to get much help from his interior protection during the season. So he will need to go back to the player of old after seeing the field for just 267 snaps in 2019.
The former UTSA standout has secured 10.5 sacks, 28 quarterback hits, and 11 tackles for loss during his two-year stint in the NFL so far. This is further evidence of his ability to get into the backfield consistently. And Okung will need to use all his savvy experience when they lock horns.