4 possible replacements for Mike Phair as Panthers DL coach

(Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images) Dennis Johnson
(Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images) Dennis Johnson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by NFL via Getty Images) Frank Okam /

Frank Okam

One possible route the Carolina Panthers could go down for their new defensive line coach is to promote from within. This would ensure some sort of stability to continue some exciting growth from the unit overall in 2020, which would leave Frank Okam as an option in this particular situation.

Okam played 25 career games over four years in the NFL without ever hitting the heights he achieved during his time at Texas. He was out of the league by 2012 and quickly embarked on the next stage of his journey in a coaching environment at the college level.

The former fifth-round pick was brought to the Panthers by Matt Rhule after working with him at Baylor. So it’s clear the head coach thinks a great deal of Okam and what he brings to the table in terms of developing the next generation of stars across the line of scrimmage.

He is still 35-years-old, so Okam is just beginning his coaching career despite starting earlier than most. His work as an assistant defensive line coach in 2020 clearly made an impression and if Rhule decides he is ready, then it might come with a promotion.

Whether Okam is ready for this sort of leap at this juncture is unclear. But it would represent a popular option for the Panthers and one that could reap instant rewards.