Byron Bell has turned into an enigma for Panthers' fans. He performed valiantly as an undrafted free-agent in 2011, but has not made any improvements since his rookie year outside of a few flashes with solid performances. Many Byron Bell jokes are made around Panthers' nation about Bell’s undeserved starting status, and to the ire of fans, he is still in contention for the blind side position.
Nate Chandler, on the other hand, has respected writers like Bill Voth of The Black & Blue Review predicting that Chandler will win the job before the first pre-season game.
Chandler also has a Hall of Fame endorsement from former Ram, Jackie Slater, whom the Panthers' lineman has spent the last couple summers working with. In addition, Slater had nothing but good things to say about Chan, stating “There’s no doubt in my mind he’s a top left tackle" to ESPN's David Newton. This news should make quite a few Carolina fans excited about the prospect of Chandler starting on the offensive line next season.
I have unfortunately not had the privilege of attending training camp this season and seeing for myself the growth Chandler has made. But, from what I have heard, he is showing all the athletic potential to handle elite opposing defenders. His obvious growth from year to year is making me very optimistic of him reaching the "top left tackle" status that Slater has set for Chandler. Considering just two years ago he was chasing quarterbacks instead of protecting them, his upside should be high. Overall, expect Nate Chandler to win the left tackle job with Byron Bell returning to the right tackle slot.
Projected Starting Offensive-Line:
LT: Nate Chandler
LG: Amini Silatolu
C: Ryan Kalil
RG: Trai Turner
RT: Byron Bell