4 Carolina Panthers veterans who could lose their jobs to rookie upstarts in 2023

Keith Taylor Jr.
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Brady Christensen - Carolina Panthers OL

Getting the starting five offensive linemen back together for another go-around was a major boost for the Carolina Panthers. This unit improved dramatically last season and the fact James Campen agreed to stay on under the new coaching regime is the clearest sign that additional improvements could be on the way.

Brady Christensen's transition from the edge onto the interior reaped rewards. The former third-round selection was mismanaged by the previous campaign as a rookie, but he seems to have found a home next to Ikem Ekwonu on the left-hand side of Carolina's protection that can hopefully become a long-term partnership that flourishes.

While hopes remain immensely high that Christensen can improve further with another offseason of development, the Panthers' decision to draft Chandler Zavala in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft was intriguing. The interior protector is a former teammate of Ekwonu's at North Carolina State and has been getting some work with the first-unit at right guard given the absence of Austin Corbett through injury.

Zavala is a pure mauler in the run game with enough athleticism to enhance his pass protection under Campen's expert guidance. Much will depend on how the rookie develops and whether Christensen regresses in any way, but a situation could emerge where the BYU product loses reps to the upstart at some point.

This would be disappointing and could impact continuity. However, the Panthers clearly think a lot of Zavala and will give him every opportunity to prove his worth.