Ranking 5 biggest Carolina Panthers draft gems of the last decade

There have been a few hits from recent Carolina Panthers drafts.

Chuba Hubbard
Chuba Hubbard / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 5

2. Trai Turner

  • Offensive Line | LSU Tigers
  • No. 92 overall | 2014 NFL Draft

It didn't take long to figure out that the Carolina Panthers might have something with Trai Turner. Relatively overlooked during the 2014 NFL Draft evaluation process, the interior offensive lineman took full advantage of opportunities when they arrived as a rookie and became the confirmed starting right guard for the 2015 season.

Of course, this was arguably the most electrifying season in franchise history. Turner played a leading role in the offensive line's interior success as the Panthers won the NFC Conference en route to the Super Bowl. Although they fell agonizingly short, making the Pro Bowl in his first full year as a starter represented a tremendous achievement.

The same trend continued with Turner over the next four years. He missed some time due to injury, but four more Pro Bowl appearances made it five straight. When Matt Rhule came into the fold, the lineman was traded to the Los Angeles Chargers in a straight-up swap for left tackle Russell Okung.

Things didn't go well for either Turner or Okung, making this trade a dead rubber. After spending the 2021-2022 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Commanders, the league finally gave up on the former LSU standout.

Despite things fizzling out quickly, Turner was easily one of the best-value picks made by Carolina over the last decade. Nobody can take that away from him.