The Carolina Panthers were reeling from the impact of Jordan Gross‘ retirement, but they were able to improve their offensive line during the 2014 NFL Draft. Though offensive tackle is still a vulnerable position, the selection of Trai Turner will vastly improve the interior of their offensive line.
LSU watched a lot of their skill-position players get selected over the three-day NFL Draft weekend. Turner is a name that is not getting much press outside of the Carolinas, but he is a name Panther fans will need to know.
Turner, a 6-foot-3 guard out of the New Orleans area, brings an athletic element to the Panthers’ trenches. He is nimble on his feet and excelled in a zone-blocking scheme. His mauler-on-the-run mentality will do wonders inside in opening up holes for the Panthers’ stable of running backs.
The offensive line in Carolina has several question marks as Turner enters the path to training camp. He will initially battle against veterans Byron Bell, Nate Chandler, Amini Silatolu, Edmund Kugbila and Chris Scott. Odds are that Bell and Chandler will occupy the two tackle positions, which leaves Turner trying to beat out two second-year small school players and Scott who is battling back from an injury.
Chandler and Bell being penciled in at tackle, and more than likely Silatolu at LG, will place Turner as the front-runner for starting RG. Kugbila and Scott can’t stay off the injured list, and Turner brings a strong resume to the table after facing off against SEC talent for the past two years.
Turner had a mid-second round grade on him by many experts, so snagging him at the end of the third round was brilliant by GM Dave Gettleman. Turner is a force to be reckoned with once he gets rolling downfield. He is extremely strong and a magnet that is difficult to remove from engagement. Don’t let the 310-pound frame fool you; this kid is a monster in the open field. Look for Turner to be starting Sept. 7 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.