As left tackle Jordan Gross held his retirement news conference in the bowels of Bank of America Stadium last week, the Carolina Panthers scouting department already was upstairs making its list of college prospects to bring in for an official pre-draft visit.
North Dakota State tackle Billy Turner apparently was one of those.
At 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, Turner turned some heads at the Senior Bowl. He's not rated among the top tackles. Auburn's Greg Robinson, Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, Michigan's Taylor Lewan, Notre Dame's Zack Martin, Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio and Tennessee's Antonio Richardson consistently rank among the top six.
He's likely a second-round pick at best, so don't look for the Panthers to use the No. 28 pick on him.
But with an upgrade needed on the offensive line, and knowing general manager Dave Gettleman likes building from the inside out, don't be shocked if Carolina takes a couple of tackles in the first three or four rounds.
Turner's visit doesn't tell you much about what the Panthers are doing in the first round, only that they are preparing to address their weaknesses -- and tackle is a big one, along with wide receiver and secondary -- throughout the draft.