The Carolina Panthers offensive line may have found the help needed in Taylor Moton and Daryl Williams.
One of the more biggest issues facing the Carolina Panthers is the wavering consistency on the offensive line. Injuries hampered this group throughout the 2016 season and even put Cam Newton in dangerous positions game in and game out. The team has worked to address some of these concerns in the last few months, but there’s still work to be done with the front five.
Injuries decimated the Panthers front line last season. The offensive line was forced to address the problem by moving players around and putting them into other positions to fill holes. Before the year could end, Michael Oher, Ryan Kalil and Gino Gradkowski were all sitting on the sideline. Any team would have struggled with so many losses among their starters, but this situation put a bright spotlight on the lack of depth within the Carolina Panthers front line.
The Panthers used their second-round draft pick to select tackle Taylor Moton. Moton’s used the OTAs to show that he should be considered as a potential starter in the position. His high ceiling gives Carolina an option to be excited about at that position. Even more important is that he’s shown that he can play on both the left and right sides of the ball; meaning that he can come off of the bench in times of need.
That need may come sooner, rather than later as Michael Oher’s status is still up in the air. Oher was forced off of the field due to concussion problems and those problems continue to persist into the off season.
Moton isn’t the only player that’s shown improvement along the offensive line. Daryl Williams, who replaced Oher for much of 2016, has shown that the time on the field helped improve his abilities. Williams seems to be the man tagged for the job if Oher is unable to return to form, but Morton is a solid backup as well. Panther’s Coach Ron Rivera is high on both men and has stated so in public, per Bob Pockrass of ESPN:
“Darryl has done a very nice job,” Rivera said. “Taylor has got a lot to learn. He’s still growing. Darryl really came into camp and has done the things that we’ve needed him to do.”
The need is clear: play well and remain healthy. While full practices have yet to start, the Panthers seem to have taken the right steps to correct some of their biggest problems from 2016. Eyes are on Williams, Moton and Matt Kalil to add depth where the Panthers need it most.
The success of the Panthers offense hinges on how well the team can protect Newton and push forward for this talented rushing core. On paper the Panthers have a wealth of talent along the offensive line, now the question becomes whether or not that talent can remain on the field throughout the year.