4 Carolina Panthers whose stock soared after 2024 roster revamp

Things are looking up for these Carolina Panthers players.
Austin Corbett
Austin Corbett / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Austin Corbett - Carolina Panthers C

One of the bigger questions approaching the draft was whether the Carolina Panthers would use one of their first picks on a center amidst a talented class of prospects. Though the additions of Damien Lewis and Robert Hunt cemented the guard positions, the team lacked a true starting anchor.

The expectations now fall on Austin Corbett to seamlessly transition from his previous post at right guard and overcome two leg injuries in consecutive seasons which saw him miss 13 games in 2023. The former second-round pick has taken practice reps at center throughout most of his career but never played at the spot in an NFL game. He and quarterback Bryce Young have both been vocal about their enthusiasm for the switch.

If Corbett can overcome the bad leg and lock down the middle, the entire offensive line looks to be much improved from 2023. Last year's personnel fit poorly in former head coach Frank Reich’s schemes and led to Young being the NFL's second-most sacked quarterback behind Sam Howell.

There is precedence for the switch. Cam Erving moved from guard in 2016 while playing for the Cleveland Browns but performed poorly enough to be switched out before the season’s end. Ali Marpet switched over during the 2017 season and acquitted himself well until an injury ended his season. The sack rate for Tampa Bay’s quarterback nearly doubled when he was not on the field.

Should Corbett struggle, Brady Christensen will likely be next in line. Conveniently, the gadget lineman also primarily plays guard. The only true center currently rostered is undrafted rookie Andrew Raym out of Oklahoma.

The best-case scenario, however, is Corbett playing at a star level as he enters the final season of the three-year deal he signed in 2022. This would be a win for all sides.

Young can play football without running for his life, allowing a proper analysis of his abilities. Furthermore, Corbett will get rewarded with a nice payday next year, be it from the Panthers or another team.