Greg Olsen’s Trip to Carolina is a Long Time Coming.
Olsen, to some, was believed to be the perfect fit for the Panthers’ franchise who was starving for a talented weapon at the tight end position, even if he wasn’t the perfect fit for John Fox’s offense.
In a recent interview with panthers.com, Olsen praised the Panther organization recalling that Carolina was a place that stood out to him in 2007 when he was conducting pre-draft interviews. To the disappointment of some fans, and possibly Olsen himself, the Panthers passed on the talented tight-end and drafted his college teammate, linebacker Jon Beason. Olsen was drafted six spots later by the Chicago Bears at pick thirty-one.
Fast forward to July 28th, 2011. Even with veteran Jeremy Shockey already under contract, the Panthers’ front office continued their aggressive offseason moves by trading a 2012 third round pick to the Bears for Olsen. Panthers’ General Manager, Marty Hurney was praised for his pick-up of Greg Olsen and it’s not surprising why. Olsen has accumulated nearly 200 receptions, close to 2,000 receiving yards, and 20 touchdowns in only 39 starts in his first four years in the NFL. His stats could have been better in 2010, but Mike Martz’s offense regards the tight-end as an undersized offensive tackle.
Still, Panther fans are excited about the possibility of how their newest tight-end acquisition will impact the Panther offense, particularly when one considers the success of tight ends under the tutelage of Panthers’ offensive coordinator, Rob Chudzinski and the new offense the Panthers plan to install.
Olsen, who has already signed a four year contract extension with Carolina, is also extremely versatile.He can line up on the line of scrimmage or be placed out into the slot or, like many times last year, be placed in the backfield as a fullback. Regardless of where he begins the play, Olsen will create mismatches due to his 6 foot 5 inch, 260 pound frame and his surprising speed. His presence on the field, and the attention that will come with it from opposing defenders, will surely lead to situations in which Steve Smith, Jeremy Shockey, or one of Carolina’s other young wide-outs will have chances to make plays.
It remains to be seen if Olsen will be the second coming of Wesley Walls. But one thing is certain, Olsen, who is just now entering his prime, is the first legitimate threat the Panthers have had at the tight end position since Wesley Walls left town.