Throughout the summer, we will touch on players on the Carolina Panthers’ roster looking to step up and emerge into the spotlight. Predictions will be thrown about. Egos will get inflated. Feelings might get hurt along the way.
Next up on our PrimeTime Player ’14 Spotlight - Ed Dickson
Cam Newton is going to be fine this year. A lot of noise has been made this offseason that Newton has been given minimal support and his receiving corps has been gutted. Many look for the Panthers to return to the ground-and-pound, run-heavy offense that was once utilized, but the arrival of Ed Dickson to Carolina has this offense going in a different direction.
Ed Dickson is entering his fifth season out of the University of Oregon. The 6’4″, 255-pound tight end spent his first four years in Baltimore and showed a lot of promise early on.
Dickson entered the league like the prodigy that would resume the roll of TE1 in Baltimore after Todd Heap departed. In his second season, Dickson roped in 54 receptions for 528 yards, and 5 touchdowns. The future was bright for Dickson, but then something went awry over the next two seasons. Dickson’s production dipped and he put up a paltry 498 yards combined over the next two seasons.
When Dickson arrived in Charlotte, it served as an opportunity for a fresh start.
Dickson will turn 27 in July, so there is more than enough gas left in the tank for him to regain his form. Here, he will be looked to as a compliment to TE Greg Olsen. With Olsen grabbing the focus of the coverage down the middle, Dickson will be the wild-card that will burn the defense. These two players will feed off each other and help strengthen the confidence of Cam Newton.
The ex-Oregon Duck is quite athletic for a tight end and has deceptive speed after the ball is in his hands. Dickson will be counted on to block down a bit and help pave the way for our running backs. However, he will also sneak off the line and create havoc in the open field as a receiver as his receiving prowess is a strength. Newton is great at keeping the play alive and loves to check down to his tight ends, so the Olsen-Dickson connection will be a constant threat.
Newton looked very comfortable during his rookie season when the Panthers had the dual-TE set with Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olsen. The Panthers moved away from this, but it will be back on full display in 2014.
Ed Dickson is strong, crafty and one of those players that a defense will look back at as a player that they should have payed more attention to. The Panthers will distribute the ball to many different players in ’14, since they still lack a true #1 WR. However, Carolina does possess a very capable running attack that will keep defenses honest. Dickson will be in several packages with Olsen, and I can definitely see Dickson being in jumbo packages being utilized off of play-action.
He has already come into mini-camp and OTAs with a positive attitude. His responses to questions and energy is that of a player that sees a second chance to be great. In a recent article from The Oregonian, Dickson says how excited he is to play with a quarterback like Newton and for a fresh start in Carolina.
Dickson will replace Ben Hartsock from last year’s squad as the TE2. Hartsock was a tremendous blocker, but outside of this talent, didn’t offer anything else to Newton. At least now when we roll two tight ends onto the field, defenses have to be cautious as to what the play call is.
The signing of Ed Dickson was a quiet move that GM Dave Gettleman did this offseason, but it will pay huge dividends as the season wears on. Dickson will rise again and become a dominating threat that will help him shine in the PrimeTime in 2014.