Starting Left Tackle: Michael Oher
The starting left tackle position is Michael Oher’s to lose with the Carolina Panthers. The former first round pick of the Baltimore Ravens has struggled a bit in recent years. He is coming off an injury-plagued season with the Tennessee Titans, one that was enough for the Titans to release him one year into a four-year contract.
The biggest concern with Oher is how he will fare on the left side. He has not played left tackle regularly since 2012. That season he started the first 15 games at left before switching to right during the Ravens’ Super Bowl run.
However, he is the best option the team has at the position and has proven in his career that he can play at a high level on the left side. He certainly has not been afraid to make his presence known on this team and even got into a scuffle with defensive end Kony Ealy that escalated past just pushing and shoving.
An improved Oher in 2015 would go a long way in helping this offense and be a tremendous improvement over Byron Bell.
Starting Right Tackle: Mike Remmers
The right tackle position was a disaster for a majority of the season and the team found a diamond in the rough when they picked up Mike Remmers off the St. Louis Rams’ practice squad. When Nate Chandler went down with a season ending injury, Remmers stepped in and solidified the position over the final five games of the season.
Even with the strong finish, Remmers is not going to be handed the starting job and it will be a tough competition. If he can play like he did down the stretch last year though and has no drop off in training camp, the job should stay with him.
Left Tackle #2: Nate Chandler
The rest of the depth chart is going to be very fluid for the rest of the offseason. The Panthers have the luxury of having players who are capable of playing both offensive tackle positions. Last season, Chandler battled with Byron Bell for the left tackle position but eventually lost to Bell. He made the switch to right tackle and started 11 games before going down with injuries.
Since the end of the season he has had surgeries on his knee and toe and has not been able to participate in OTAs this offseason. He expects to be ready to go by the time training camp rolls around and I believe should be considered the primary back up to Oher on the left side.
Right Tackle #2: Daryl Williams
The Panthers used their fourth-round pick on the massive offensive tackle Daryl Williams out of Oklahoma. At 6’6” and 335 pounds, Williams was a key run blocker for the Sooners’ offense, which was one of the top rushing attacks in the NCAA last season.
The question with Williams is how quickly he can get up to speed and learn to play at the NFL level. He is probably the future at the right tackle position and should be Remmers biggest competition for that starting right tackle position. It should be just a matter of when the future will start, whether that is Week 1 of 2015, later in the season or not until 2016.
Backup Swing Tackle: Jonathan Martin
The Panthers brought in three offensive tackles this offseason and in addition to Michael Oher and Daryl Williams, the team claimed Jonathan Martin off waivers. Martin was a second-round pick by the Miami Dolphins a few years ago and after starting his rookie season at right tackle, he moved to the left side.
However, he left the team midway through the season due to being the victim of the bullying scandal and found a home in San Francisco after the 2013 season. He made eight starts for the 49ers at right tackle last year but the team decided to put him on waivers at the end of the season.
Martin has the experience to play both positions and that could be extremely valuable for the Panthers, especially if the team runs into the rash of injuries they did at offensive tackle in 2014.
Left Tackle #3: David Foucault
The undrafted rookie from Montreal, Canada started one game last season for the Panthers, the Thursday night game with New Orleans. It was certainly clear that he was not ready for the NFL and according to Pro Football Focus, was responsible for two QB sacks, one QB hit, and six QB hurries in just that one game.
It certainly wasn’t fair to Foucault to be put in that position as he should be considered a developmental-type player. The Panthers added a great deal of talent to the position this offseason and there may not be room on the 53-man roster for a developing tackle like Foucault.
Right Tackle #3: Martin Wallace
Offensive tackle Martin Wallace was signed as undrafted rookie in 2013 by the Cleveland Browns and was waived prior to the 2014 season. He joined the Panthers halfway through last season and was signed to the practice squad in October.
Similar to Foucault, there doesn’t look to be much room on the 53-man roster for Wallace and he has to be considered a long shot to make the roster.
Brandon Croce is the Lead Publisher for PantherInsider.com. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonCroce.