Center #1: Ryan Kalil
The Carolina Panthers are lucky to have one of the best centers in the game in Ryan Kalil. The experience he brings is one of the reasons the team can be successful with two young players starting at guards.
Kalil was drafted in the second round by the Panthers in 2007 and by 2008 he was the team’s starting center. He has been selected to four Pro Bowls over that span and has proven to be durable, missing time in only one season since 2009.
This past season though may have been his best work as he seemed to play with a different offensive line every week. He also was rated as the fifth best run-blocking center by Pro Football Focus.
Aside from maybe Cam Newton, there may not be a more valuable player to this offense than Ryan Kalil. The center is arguably the most important position on the offensive line, as he is the one to call out assignments and shifts in protection. This experience is going to be extremely important leading a young offensive line in 2015.
Center #2: Brian Folkerts
The path to the NFL has been a long one for Brian Folkerts. He went undrafted in 2012 after playing college football at Kansas State but was signed as a free agent by the New Orleans Saints. He was cut prior to the 2012 season and played as a fullback in the Arena Football League for the San Jose SaberCats.
He signed with the Panthers prior to the 2013 season and made the active roster to start the season. He was on the active roster for 10 games in 2013 and all 16 games last season.
The fact that the team doesn’t have any other centers on the roster gives Folkerts a good chance of making the active roster for a third season.
Brandon Croce is the Lead Publisher for PantherInsider.com. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonCroce.