Clint Boling was forced into the starting lineup after Travelle Wharton suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason opener. However, Boling played fairly well, especially in pass protection, earning an overall grade of 7.5 from Pro Football Focus.
If Wharton isn't 100 percent by the time the season rolls around, Boling will be the team's starter at left guard. However, if Wharton is completely healthy, he could push Boling into a competition for the starting spot.
As stated above, Boling played well in his second year in the league, especially when it came to pass protection. He gave up six sacks, according to PFF, and helped protect Dalton's blind side along with Andrew Whitworth. The former fourth-round pick started a few games of his rookie season at right guard, but eventually was replaced by Mike McGlynn.
Wharton was supposed to be the starting left guard in 2012, but was replaced after his injury. He was selected in the third round by the Panthers in the 2004 draft and played in 99 games, starting the majority of them, at guard through the 2011 season. He was known both as a solid run blocker and pass protector, but began to struggle as a pass blocker once the Panthers moved on to a mobile quarterback in Cam Newton.