Left tackle tabbed as biggest position of need for Carolina Panthers right now.
Injuries decimated the Carolina Panthers offensive line even before the regular season began last year. Starting tackles Matt Kalil and Daryl Williams were hampered by knee injuries, in addition to guard Amini Silatolu, who had been tabbed as the starter during training camp.
General manager Marty Hurney and coach Ron Rivera did a nice job of masking the depleted front and received solid play from Chris Clark, who was signed early on and became a mainstay on the left side.
Handcuffed by an over sized contract, there is little Hurney can do to escape Kalil, who should be healthy enough to compete for his position once practice begins. However, based on his most recent production, Pro Football Focus has declared left tackle as the most pressing need for Carolina this offseason.
Matt Kalil’s $55 million deal is shaping up to be an all-time bad signing. He earned a 63.1 overall grade in 2017 before missing all of 2018 with yet another injury. It will cost them more to cut the soon to be 30-year old tackle than to roster him in 2019, but either way, you likely don’t want him starting.
Clark turns 34 in October and although he proved capable of still performing at a high level, Hurney has already indicated he would like to inject some youth into the roster. The Panthers are not going to re-sign linebacker Thomas Davis, Ryan Kalil has retired, and safety Mike Adams is likely moving on as well.
This opens the door for a solid tackle to be secured during the draft but other positions remain a priority – even along that same offensive line. The Panthers have needs at tackle, center, linebacker, safety and at defensive end.
While left tackle has been pinned as the biggest, there remain too many in order to just focus on one. Hurney and the Panthers need a solid offseason plan to emerge with a roster ready to compete next season.
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