Carolina Panthers: Offensive Linemen To Watch at the Combine

Tyler HornerCorrespondent IIFebruary 25, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02:  Andrew Luck #12 and David DeCastro #52 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrate after Luck threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz #86 in the third quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The NFL Combine is officially underway and the pre-draft evaluations are starting now. The combine is used to confirm what we see on tape and give players a chance to answer questions about their athletic ability. 

On Saturday, the offensive linemen are taking the field. They're going to have some of the best bench press performances of all the groups, but most will be disappointed with the 40-yard dash times. However, the focus will be on the 10-yard times. 

Here are some prospects that you should keep an eye on as you watch the combine on Saturday. I'll have immediate analysis after the day's events as well. 


David DeCastro, G, Stanford 

DeCastro is one of the few offensive linemen in this class that could start from day one. For a guard, he has solid arm length and good height, something that the Panthers typically value in their offensive linemen. 

DeCastro is also a technician, much like Carolina's Ryan Kalil and Geoff Hangartner. He's also a high motor player and rarely makes mistakes. If the team parts ways with Travelle Wharton, DeCastro would be an immediate upgrade at left guard. 

Kelechi Osemele, G/T, Iowa State 

Here's a player who the Panthers can target in Round 2 if there are few talented defensive tackles and cornerbacks left on the board. Osemele is incredibly talented and if not for some technical quirks to work out of his game, he'd easily be a first-round prospect. 

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 17:  Guard David DeCastro #52 of the Stanford Cardinal during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. The Cardinal defeated the Wildcats 37-10.  (Photo by C
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The lineman out of Iowa State has as much upside as any guard prospect in this class and if the Panthers don't draft DeCastro in the first round, Osemele would be a great option to consider to bolster this offensive line that currently has some holes. 

Joe Looney, G, Wake Forest 

Unlike Osemele, Joe Looney is well developed and would add depth to the Panthers' offensive line from the moment he is drafted. Consistent production and adequate athletic ability make him an option for the Panthers in either the fourth or fifth round.

He doesn't have great upside, but could be an effective NFL player as a backup. 

Rishaw Johnson, G, California PA 

Johnson doesn't play like a prototypical guard, but he shows good explosiveness. However, his talent has been overshadowed by some character issues, making it possible to draft him in the sixth round or lower even though he has fourth-round talent.

He needs to improve his footwork, but if he can take in some NFL coaching then he could develop into a nice player. 

David Molk, C, Michigan 

The best center in college football is also one of the strongest players in this draft class. He doesn't have great technique, but makes up for it with aggressiveness and quickness. Molk could be helped greatly with quality coaching. 

Jeff Allen, G/T, Illinois 

Allen would be the perfect choice for the Panthers because he can play four out of the five offensive line positions. He's also unlikely to be picked before the sixth round and the Panthers could easily get him in the seventh, which would be a steal.

He's a very well-rounded player who simply lacks the explosiveness to be a day one or two talent. 

Mitchell Schwartz, G/T, Cal 

Although he doesn't have much experience playing inside, I could see Schwartz making the move to guard because of his lack of athletic ability. His brother, who is currently a free agent of the Panthers, made the same move and has become a valuable player due to his versatility.

The two brothers are similar players and Carolina would get great value for Schwartz in the fifth to sixth round.