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.
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