Panthers offensive line continues to be a huge bright spot in 2022

Ranging anywhere from mediocre to downright awful, the Carolina Panthers have had a persistent problem in its offensive trenches for the last decade.

Of course, they’ve had one heck of a time trying to replace franchise great Jordan Gross at left tackle—patching the spot with a mixture of 16 men between 2014 and 2021. They’ve also filled the gaps over to the right of the blindside with temporary fixes, various journeymen and flat-out busts.

But, that is no longer the case, as the Panthers took a huge step in addressing the entirety of the line in 2022.

The journey got a huge boost this offseason, when the team signed free agents Austin Corbett and Bradley Bozeman. Carolina then, in what was seemingly a pity gift from the football gods, was presented with their choice of three potential franchise left tackles in the 2022 NFL draft. They ultimately chose North Carolina State University’s Ikem Ekwonu.

Corbett and Bozeman, in turn, have been excellent in their new home—with the former leading the charge of a successful ground game and the other filling the starting void at center admirably these past few weeks.

Ekwonu, who struggled a bit in pass protection to start his career, has progressed rapidly—having allowed just four pressures between Weeks 4 and 8. Even in his first start, one where he struggled against Myles Garrett and the Cleveland Browns, it was clear that he was improving as the game went along and holding his own against one of the league’s best performers.

These new additions, along with right tackle Taylor Moton and left guard Brady Christensen, have been key in turning Carolina’s identity back to a run-first, clock-control team. And with plenty of season left to grow for this unit, the future is bright for what was once a dangerously dark area for the franchise.

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Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire