What will Chandler Zavala bring to the Carolina Panthers?

Chandler Zavala
Chandler Zavala / Bryan Bennett/GettyImages

What are the Carolina Panthers going to get from Chandler Zavala after the high-upside offensive lineman was taken at No. 114 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft?

After an eventful two days for the Carolina Panthers, they had just two selections at their disposal heading into Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft. Not normally in keeping with how general manager Scott Fitterer normally goes about his business, but that's the to pay for some suspect moves in years past and a big-time sacrifice to secure Bryce Young's services.

Fitterer stated that the team has filled needs and what's left is to finish off strongly. There is a newfound buzz around the organization thanks to Young's arrival, with the arrivals of Jonathan Mingo and D.J. Johnson also coming with a significant amount of intrigue.

Carolina Panthers draft Chandler Zavala at No. 114 overall

The Panthers didn't have long to wait before involving themselves at No. 114 overall. And Fitterer avoided the temptation to trade down in favor of selecting Chandler Zavala, an imposing offensive lineman coming out of North Carolina State. 

Zavala is a former teammate of Ikem Ekwonu, who played a pivotal role in his early development. If everything goes well, then the potential of the pair becoming Carolina's long-term left-hand tandem on the protection cannot be dismissed. 

There's a lot to like about Zavala. He is a brute force with heavy hands, ensuring high productivity on running plays thanks to his thick base and outstanding functional strength. 

Once Zavala gets his hands on any oncoming rusher, there isn't much they can do. The grip is extraordinary and matched by enough lateral quickness to get out on the move and go looking for work at the second level. 

Carolina's coaching staff led by the outstanding James Campen have some hard work ahead where Zavala is concerned. The prospect is a little raw in pass protection in terms of technique, which can result in overleaning, and is also susceptible to penalties along the way.

With that being said, Zavala is highly intelligent and has picked things up incredibly quickly throughout his college career. This provides solid depth at worst for the Panthers and at best, he could well be an upgrade on left guard Brady Christensen if everything comes together. 

It's also worth remembering that Christensen and Austin Corbett are recovering from long-term injuries. Acquiring an athletic specimen such as Zavala provides insurance and someone capable of stepping in seamlessly to ensure no momentum is lost. 

This made a ton of sense considering the options available. Carolina has just one selection remaining before their draft comes to a conclusion and it's been a pretty profitable process for the franchise all things considered. 

Zavala's transition will be made easier by Ekwonu's presence. He also has the sort of mindset that will fit in extremely well with those already in the offensive line room, which can only help this unit continue its positive upward trend next season and potentially beyond.

Next. 3 elite traits the Carolina Panthers are getting with Bryce Young. dark