Brady Christensen

Panthers Sign Brady Christensen

The Panthers have signed third-round offensive lineman Brady Christensen, per a club announcement. As the No. 70 overall pick, the BYU product will make $5.16MM on his four-year deal, including a signing bonus of $1.12MM. 

Scouts Inc. assigned a seventh-round grade to Christensen, whose stature and lack of lateral quickness might point him to the interior, rather than the outside. However, the Panthers were (and are) extremely bullish on him during the draft. Initially, the Panthers planned to take Christensen with the No. 60 overall pick. Then, they got word of the Saints’ interest in wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. Fortunately for them, Christensen was still there at No. 70, even after they took Marshall 60th.

Christensen, 25 in September, spent three seasons with the Cougars, blocking for No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson. It remains to be seen how the Panthers will use him this year, but it sounds like Cam Erving, Greg Little, and Dennis Daley will vie for the left tackle job. That may leave Christensen to fight for time at right tackle or one of the two guard spots.

With Christensen in the fold, third-round tight end Tommy Tremble stands as the Panthers’ last straggler.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cam Erving To Compete For Panthers’ LT Job

When the Panthers signed OL Cameron Erving in free agency, Erving’s ability to line up at any position on the O-line was cited as one of his best assets. At the time of the signing, Joseph Person of The Athletic suggested that Erving would have a chance to compete for Carolina’s starting LT job, and now that the team’s summer roster is mostly set, Person confirms that Erving is very much in the mix to be Sam Darnold‘s blindside protector.

As Panthers fans know all too well, the team’s left tackle post has been a revolving door for nearly a decade. Whoever wins the job will be Carolina’s ninth LT in as many years, and at first blush, Erving doesn’t look like the long-term solution the Panthers have been seeking. The Browns drafted the Florida State product in the first round of the 2015 draft, but the fact that the Browns flipped him to the Chiefs for a fifth-round pick before his third pro season tells you all you need to know about his tenure in Cleveland.

He ultimately played three seasons in Kansas City, starting 25 games over that span and lining up at left tackle and both guard positions. His play was not good enough to convince the Chiefs to pick up his 2020 option, and he hooked on with the Cowboys last May. Due to multiple knee injuries, he played in just six games (five starts) for Dallas.

As Person notes, Erving missed most of the Panthers’ OTAs and minicamp due to an unspecified injury, though he is expected to be ready to go for the start of training camp. Trenton Scott, who played four games at LT for the Panthers last season, remains in the mix for the starting job in 2021, but he is dealing with an undisclosed injury of his own.

2019 draftees Greg Little and Dennis Daley are also in the running, but Person does not mention third-round rookie Brady Christensen as an LT candidate. Carolina brass was very high on Christensen and targeted him with the No. 60 overall selection before the team got word of the Saints’ interest in WR Terrace Marshall Jr. The Panthers nabbed Marshall at No. 60 and ultimately traded up to land Christensen with the No. 70 overall pick.

However, Scouts Inc. actually had a seventh-round grade on Christensen, and his stature and lack of lateral quickness might make him a better fit at guard at the professional level. At least initially, it seems that the Panthers plan to deploy him on the interior.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Saints, Panthers, Bucs

After trading down twice in Round 2, the Panthers planned to select BYU tackle Brady Christensen at No. 60 and add LSU wideout Terrace Marshall Jr. with a subsequent trade-up shortly after. However, the Saints eyed Marshall at No. 60, Darin Gantt of Panthers.com notes, prompting the Panthers to change course and select Marshall earlier than initially planned. Carolina drafted Marshall at No. 59, reuniting him with offensive coordinator Joe Brady. The Saints then took Ohio State linebacker Pete Werner at 60. Marshall, who now joins Panthers vets D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, played a key role for LSU’s national championship team alongside Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase and last season after those future first-rounders left. He totaled 23 touchdown grabs from 2019-20. New Orleans cut No. 2 receiver Emmanuel Sanders this offseason and has been unable to find a steady complement for Michael Thomas for a few years. The team still has Tre’Quan Smith, who is entering a contract year, and used a seventh-round pick on a wideout (South Alabama’s Kawann Baker). The Panthers ended up getting Christensen at No. 70, trading up three spots to land him.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Prior to the Bears trading up to No. 11 and selecting Justin Fields, they called the Panthers about the No. 8 choice, Gantt adds. While the Panthers discussed trading down with a few teams before the draft, the Bears called during Round 1. Carolina ultimately decided moving down 12 spots, to Chicago’s No. 20 slot, was too much. The Panthers selected cornerback Jaycee Horn in Round 1. The Broncos aided the Bears’ quarterback quest a pick later, taking Patrick Surtain II over Fields.
  • This draft profiled as one of the weakest for defensive tackles in recent memory, and the class ended up influencing the Buccaneers to retain veterans at the position. While the Super Bowl champions completed a stunning effort of keeping their team together, GM Jason Licht said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine) the thin D-tackle class moved the team to re-sign Ndamukong Suh, Steve McLendon and Rakeem Nunez-Roches earlier this offseason. The Bucs did not draft a defensive tackle this year.
  • The Saints are reuniting with C.J. Leak, a staffer who once worked as their Combine scout. The Texans dismissed Leak as their assistant director of pro personnel in February, but veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson tweets Leak will return to the Saints. Houston hired Leak in 2018. Leak previously spent two years with New Orleans.
  • Staying on the scouting subject, the Panthers are adding Jared Kirksey to their scouting staff, Neil Stratton of InsideTheLeague.com tweets. Kirksey was previously on the Jaguars’ staff and has previously worked as a Bucs and Texans scout.

Panthers Acquire No. 70 From Eagles

The Eagles will trade out of their No. 70 overall selection, dealing the choice to the Panthers. Carolina possessed three third-round choices; the team will begin that itinerary a bit early.

Carolina will climb from No. 73 to 70 and give Philadelphia a sixth-round pick (No. 191) to do so. With the pick, the Panthers are taking BYU tackle Brady Christensen.

The 24-year-old blocker played three seasons with the Cougars, blocking for No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson. This marks the Panthers’ second straight offensive pick, after the franchise began its Matt Rhule era with a slew of defensive selections. Christensen will follow Terrace Marshall Jr. to Charlotte.

Russell Okung remains a free agent, but this marks the Panthers’ second Day 2 tackle pick in three years. In 2019, the franchise selected Greg Little. Carolina used its franchise tag on Taylor Moton but will throw Christensen into its tackle mix alongside Little. Interestingly, Scouts Inc. viewed Christensen as a seventh-round-level talent. Rhule and GM Scott Fitterer clearly disagree.