The Carolina Panthers will conduct the first of 10 OTA sessions next Tuesday, the first of Ron Rivera's tenure as the team's head coach. Several positions are up for grabs this offseason and Rivera is looking forward to seeing how the battle at right tackle shakes out, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports.
That battle will be between 2008 first-round pick Jeff Otah and Byron Bell, who joined the Panthers last summer as an undrafted free agent from New Mexico. Bell started the last 11 games of the season when Otah was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury for a third straight year.
"Nobody's getting anything there. Byron Bell did a hell of a job for us last year," Rivera said. "We know what Jeff's capable of. But the problem with Jeff is we haven't really seen him in two years. It's up to Jeff. If Jeff wants to come back and be a huge part of it, it's on him. He's got to do the things we ask him to do. He's got to do them the right way."
With health and line continuity giving Bell the edge for the starting job, Otah may have to fight off the newly-acquired Bruce Campbell just to earn a spot on the roster as a "swing" tackle. Campbell, a 6-foot-6, 314-pounder from Maryland, had an outstanding performance at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2010 but slid in the draft, due in part to a lack of experience (he started just 17 games for the Terrapins).
Campbell went to the Oakland Raiders in the fourth round, but was moved to guard and appeared in just 14 games over his first two seasons in the league. The Panthers added Campbell in a March 30 trade that sent running back Mike Goodson to the Raiders; general manager Marty Hurney said the team planned to move him back to tackle.