Dennis Daley, Left Tackle From South Carolina
Arguably the greatest issue on the Panthers’ roster in 2018 was the left tackle position. The Panthers added Chris Clark to the active roster after Matt Khalil was placed on injured reserve. The Panthers opted to move on from Clark at the conclusion of the season. In the 2019 NFL draft the Panthers responded by drafting two left tackles, Greg Little and Dennis Daley. Daley might be a sixth-round pick, but don’t count him out right away. The former Gamecock is no stranger to adversity and might even give Little a run for his money.
The Days Before South Carolina
According to gamecocksonline.com, Daley began his football career at Georgia Military College. He was an offensive line starter during his two-year tenure with the Bulldogs. 247Sports and ESPN recognized Daley with national JUCO rankings in offensive tackle categories during his second year. At the conclusion of his second year he transferred to the University of South Carolina to continue his football career.
Coming to Carolina
Daley began his Gamecock football career at left guard during the second game of the season. He shifted over to left tackle against Missouri and started at left tackle for the remainder of the 2017 season. In 2018 Daley earned the starting left tackle position for the Gamecocks. His worst game just so happened to be against the Kentucky defense that featured a matchup against Josh Allen. However, when faced with the Clemson defense seven weeks later, Daley had a tremendous performance:
South Carolina #74
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He participated in the Reese’s Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, and South Carolina Pro Day after the 2018 season. According to nfl.com, the former Gamecock clocked a quicker forty yard dash and a higher vertical jump than Greg Little at the Combine. Daley also weighed in seven pounds heavier than Little and was graded into the same prospect category. Daley addressed the media at both the Combine and his Pro Day:
Fit with the Panthers
According to panthers.com, there are five offensive tackles currently on the roster including Daley. One has to start at right tackle and one has to start at left tackle. Two of them, Daryl Williams and Taylor Moton, have starting experience with the Panthers. They both play primarily on the right side so the Panthers need competition for left tackle. The fifth tackle currently on the roster, Dillon Gordon, is coming off of injured reserve and has no NFL starting experience.
Daley and Little were both starters at left tackle during their college careers. The Panthers are in desperate need of a true left tackle who can provide security and longevity at the position. While Little may be the projected starter for left tackle, Daley can be a key backup for him. Given the unpredictable nature of the offseason, Daley could even be a starter come Week One.