Is it time for the Carolina Panthers to try Brady Christensen at LT?

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brady Christensen
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brady Christensen /

Could the final preseason game be a good time for the Carolina Panthers to try rookie Brady Christensen at the left tackle position?

One of the more pleasing aspects of the Carolina Panthers preseason so far has been the production of Brady Christensen. The third-round pick hasn’t looked overawed at the next level despite playing multiple positions across the offensive line, leading many to believe the BYU product could have a big role to play during the 2021 campaign.

It’s clear the Panthers really liked Christensen coming out of college. His tape was absolutely flawless protecting Zach Wilson’s blindside, which caused Carolina to trade up and secure his services on Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft.

There remains some debate surrounding where Christensen is best suited. He’s been occupying the right tackle and left guard positions in the two warmup games against the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts, more than holding his own with some polished reps.

According to Pro Football Focus, Christensen has been on the field for 55 pass-blocking snaps in this span. He’s yet to give up a sack.

Considering how well Christensen’s adapted to a professional environment both on the field and at training camp, the Panthers should be toying with the idea of getting the rookie some reps at left tackle against the Pittsburgh Steelers – a position he’s very familiar with.

Of course, this is the time when Matt Rhule plans to play his starters for as much as a half. This will be the first occasion Cam Erving is seeing anything more than one series following his free-agent arrival, but the production he’s accumulated throughout his career doesn’t leave much room for optimism.

The concerns about Christensen’s arm length are well documented. But his athleticism is off the charts and something that could end up being a real asset for Carolina to call upon.

Carolina Panthers should experiment with Brady Christensen at LT against the Steelers.

If he goes in at left tackle against the Steelers and fails, so what?

It is the preseason. And at least the Panthers will know for sure.

Putting a first-year-pro at the most important position on the offensive line is a big risk. Even the Detroit Lions are switching Penei Sewell over to the right during the initial stages of his transition.

It’s not like the Panthers are blessed with quality depth at any spot on their protection. Moving Taylor Moton is a last resort considering how exceptional he is as a right tackle, so it’s a precarious situation unless Erving completely turns his career around.

Christensen has grown in stature this offseason after his inevitable bedding-in period. He has the promise, but it’s now up to those in power within the organization to devise a concise plan that allows the player to contribute early and often on the rotation.

He did get called for a holding penalty against the Ravens. But everyone takes one of these now and again no matter how experienced they are.

If the Panthers don’t do it right now, it’s unlikely they ever will.

Judging by Christensen’s college performances that made him PFF’s highest-ever graded offensive lineman, that might be a mistake.

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The coaching staff knows the player and what’s best. But time is running out to formally define the role Christensen will play in Carolina next season and beyond.