4 positional priorities for Panthers after first wave of 2021 free agency

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson /
3 of 4
Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Russell Okung /

Left tackle

One glaring area that the Carolina Panthers need to focus their attention on is left tackle. This is arguably the second most important position on offense behind the quarterback and with Russell Okung’s time with the franchise apparently over after just one season, a longer-term solution is needed.

Okung played well when he was on the field. But the injury concerns that blighted his final season with the Los Angeles Chargers returned in Carolina and only having the Pro Bowler for seven games during the campaign proved costly.

Premium left tackles on the free-agent market don’t normally come cheap. There could be some value to be had in the current market if things continue as they are, with the 2021 NFL Draft class considered a very deep one for offensive linemen.

This is something the Panthers might want to take advantage of and who knows, maybe they’ll get lucky with either Penei Sewell or Rashawn Slater falling into their laps at No. 8 overall.

Whether it’s Teddy Bridgewater or someone else under center, it will count for nothing if the blindside protection isn’t there. Simply put, the situation needs to be resolved at the earliest possibility and nobody will know this more than Matt Rhule after struggling to fill Okung’s void last time around.