Carolina Panthers: 4 protected practice squad candidates

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Branden Bowen
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Branden Bowen /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images) Branden Bowen /

Carolina Panthers Player No. 4: Branden Bowen – OL

It is clear the Carolina Panthers need to manage offensive lineman Branden Bowen carefully. The former Ohio State star is an undeniable talent that is more than capable of making his presence felt at the next level. But niggling injuries have become a real problem for the player in recent years.

Bowen worked incredibly hard to win back a starting spot with the Buckeyes after missing all of the 2018 season through injury. This represented a fine achievement itself. But he performed incredibly well in the face of some stern competition as one of the primary protectors for star quarterback Justin Fields.

The lineman did manage to pass his physical to come off the non-football injury list recently. But this only shortened the time he has to impress the coaching staff in a bid to make the 53-man roster.

Carolina’s interior line goes into the campaign with more questions than answers. And although they found some plug and play short-term options during free agency. There appears little doubt that young players with a high upside need to be developed to give them the best possible chance of success going forward.

Bowen fits into this bracket. But he will need to prove he is durable enough to make a lasting impact at some point in the future.

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He has all the talent needed to make a real go of things in the NFL. Allocating the protected practice squad player tag on Bowen would allow the Panthers to keep him around in 2020 and see what sort of improvements he can make. It will also give the player a chance to prove he has finally rid himself of health problems.