5 college left tackles the Carolina Panthers should watch closely in 2021

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) Evan Neal
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) Evan Neal /
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Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Erving /

Which college prospects who could play left tackle should the Carolina Panthers monitor closely during the 2021 season?

Not having a franchise left tackle is something that has been an ongoing concern for the Carolina Panthers. Even though the days of Jordan Gross are long gone, the organization has yet to find a productive blindside protector and there appears to be a significant amount of concern about the team’s current options heading into the 2021 campaign.

Cam Erving was signed in free agency, but his level of performances since entering the league means a meteoric turnaround is needed if the Panthers eventually put the former first-round pick as a starter. The jury is also well and truly out on Greg Little’s chances of ever becoming an NFL-caliber player at the position.

Carolina could also use Trenton Scott if he develops with a more structured offseason under his belt. But it’s hard to look at this trio with any sort of confidence and if they fail to meet expectations, quarterback Sam Darnold will be the first to suffer.

This might be the team’s top priority next offseason. Here are five college prospects the Panthers should monitor closely in 2021 who could become NFL left tackles in the future.

Potential left tackle college prospects for the Carolina Panthers in 2022

Prospect No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Joseph Cress/The Des Moines Register via IMAGN Content Services) Trevor Penning /

Trevor Penning – Northern Iowa

Although he might be sliding a little under the radar due to playing at a small program, Trevor Penning has all the intangibles needed to be among the first tackle prospects taken in the 2022 NFL Draft with a solid campaign.

He is a big-bodied protector with the athleticism to match. Two traits the Carolina Panthers sought heavily in their recruitment process this time around under new general manager Scott Fitterer.

There will always be a case of whether someone like Penning’s production is tainted by a lack of quality opposition. But he should also stand out considerably during the evaluation process.