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Panthers hope Christensen finally fills void at left tackle

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Carolina Panthers have been looking for a player who can protect the quarterback’s blindside for the past eight years.
They think they may have found one in consensus All-American Brady Christensen.

The team’s third-round draft pick from Brigham Young has pass-blocking solid skills, and there is optimism he can be the pass protector the team has coveted at left tackle ever since Jordan Gross retired following the 2013 season. “He comes from that pro-style offense at BYU, so he’s done the things that we are asking guys to do,” Panthers coach Matt Rhule said. “He’s been doing it there. He’s a tackle candidate that can also go inside and play guard. Again, a great, great, great athlete. Intelligence, the whole package.”

The Panthers had their eyes on Oregon’s left tackle Penei Sewell in the first round. Still, when the Detroit Lions drafted him seventh overall – one spot ahead of them – they pivoted and took South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn. Carolina drafted wide receiver Terrace Marshall from LSU in the second round before filling the left tackle spot with Christensen in round three. Christensen will have to earn a starting job in training camp

which means beating out free agent pickup Cam Erving and Greg Little, a second-round pick by the previous Panthers coaching regime, which has struggled to get on the field. “I think I’m an elite pass protector, and I’ll be able to pass protect at a high level,” Christensen said. “Also, the run game there is unbelievable, and I’m excited to be able to run block. I feel like I have elite feet. I really can drive guys off the ball.”

They’re big feet, too. The 6-foot-5, 302-pound Christensen wears a size 15 wide shoe.

But he may be outdone at some point by his newborn son, Ledger. Ledger was born on March 16 and was a modest 7 pounds, 13 ounces – except some enormous feet. In fact, Christensen said he and his wife have struggled to find socks big enough to fit the newborn.

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