On Friday, the Panthers acquired offensive tackle Bruce Campbell from the Raiders for running back Mike Goodson, and it seems they have made their decision-making in the upcoming draft a little more complicated.
Before the trade went through, the Panthers were low on talent on the offensive line. Although Ryan Kalil and Jordan Gross are stars, there are holes at left guard and right tackle that must be filled, and the draft seemed like the avenue to do exactly that.
However, with Campbell the Panthers now have a player who can not only cling to a starting job, but develop into a stellar player at tackle or guard.
The highly versatile 23-year-old is extremely raw but as athletic as any lineman in the league. He is quick-footed and has nearly every physical attribute that a coach would covet on the offensive line.
The reason he has failed to develop in his first two NFL seasons is a lack of attention to detail and, at times, motivation. That may come as a scare to Panthers fans, who witnessed Jeff Otah fall from All-Pro level production to a permanent spot in the trainer’s office due to what many believe is a lack of work ethic, but new scenery could make the difference for Campbell.
The former Maryland Terrapin could also push Otah to get himself back onto the field at full health, something the Panthers have been waiting years for. Campbell always appeared to be a competitive player at Maryland, so clearly something went awry in Oakland. If he can regain that competitive edge for Carolina, it will help the development of all the players on the offensive line.
Whether he begins at tackle or guard, Campbell can make a serious impact on the future of the Panthers franchise. Getting talented players on your roster for pennies on the dollar is the key to a successful team, and Campbell’s small contract makes this a low-risk proposition. It will be fun to see if he does pan out, because one thing that Cam Newton still needs is more athleticism on his offensive line.