5 best first-round NFL Draft picks in Carolina Panthers history

(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Newton
(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Newton /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Jordan Gross /

Jordan Gross – Former Carolina Panthers OT

  • No. 8 overall (2003)

Consistency. That was Jordan Gross during his time securing the offensive line of the Carolina Panthers. The big-bodied tackle only had three seasons where he played less than 16 games and never went into double digits in penalties.

His proud career didn’t necessarily start the way most would think, on the first play Gross whiffed on a block and fell to the ground. But that’s just what made him great, he never let those things bother him.

The offensive line as a whole is a forgotten position in the NFL, they don’t get the big bucks, the praise, or even just the appreciation that they deserve.

My father jokingly says, “The only time you hear their name is when they do something wrong.”

But you never truly know what you have until it’s gone.

Since Gross’ retirement, the Panthers have been desperate for another franchise left tackle to come into the building and fill that gaping hole and so far have failed to do so. All eyes are once again at that spot because something has gone wrong.

The mark of a truly great offensive lineman is the one you don’t see on the screen, the one you don’t necessarily remember. Because as long as they are silently shutting down the opposing defense there’s nothing for you to worry about. That was Gross.

With Gross and his three Pro Bowls and 2008 All-Pro nod, the Panthers never had to take a second look at the blindside and neither did whoever he was protecting.