Carolina Panthers draft Tate Ratledge
- Offensive Line | Georgia Bulldogs
- No. 136 overall
One position group that became exposed for its lack of depth this season is the offensive line. Losing Brady Christensen and Austin Corbett - the Carolina Panthers' starting guard tandem in 2022 - was a body blow they have yet to recover from effectively.
Corbett can hopefully get back into the lineup after Carolina's bye week. Even then, it's clear upgrades to the rotation are needed over the likes of Calvin Throckmorton and Cade Mays, who just aren't up to the required standard.
Adding development projects can often prove valuable via the draft if the correct recruits are acquired. Someone like Tate Ratledge fits the bill in no uncertain terms at this juncture.
Ratledge looks like an NFL offensive lineman and there are times when he plays like one, too. Once he gets the upper hand on defensive linemen it tends to go in his favor, which is thanks to his ruthless finishing abilities and ultra-competitive approach on almost every down.
He might not be the most technically sound, but the raw power alone makes him an asset in the run game. There is also enough to suggest he could hold his own in pass protection with additional refinement.
If there was one knock on Ratlegde, it's initial contact on passing downs. Hand placement can become an issue, but he still represents outstanding value at this stage of the draft.