5 big fears for Carolina Panthers fans during 2021 season

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold and Matt Rhule
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold and Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Cam Erving /

Carolina Panthers left tackle

One of the real fears surrounding the Carolina Panthers heading into the season is once again on their offensive line. In particular, just who is going to shoulder the responsibility of protecting Sam Darnold’s blindside when competitive action begins.

Considering how important this position is to an offense only second to the person under center – it’s gone relatively overlooked by the Panthers since Jordan Gross retired. Probably why they’ve only had a few winning seasons since then.

Russell Okung’s trade from the Los Angeles Chargers saw the veteran turn out in just seven games, leaving Carolina back to square one in their search for another potential option.

Just what they see in Cam Erving is unclear. The former first-round has endured some significant difficulties protecting the edge during his career, so it would be a pretty remarkable turnaround for the player to even become competent at the position.

Greg Little, Dennis Daley, and Trenton Scott are other options that all come with a fair share of worry. There is also some intrigue as to where the Panthers are going to use third-round selection, Brady Christensen, as a rookie.

If this area becomes one of weakness – which is a distinct possibility – then Carolina and Darnold in particular are going to struggle.