Carolina Panthers: Big things expected of Ian Thomas in 2020

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Ian Thomas
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Ian Thomas /
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(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers /

Thomas’ career with the Panthers so far

Ian Thomas has enjoyed some success with the Carolina Panthers during his two-year spell with the franchise. He saw a lot of the field during his rookie campaign as Greg Olsen spent considerable time on the sidelines.

This allowed the player to thrive during what could have been a baptism of fire for the mid-round prospect. Thomas showcased his quality hand-eye coordination and his ability to gain valuable yards after the catch.

He saw the field for almost 50 percent of the team’s offensive snaps and was productive when called upon. Thomas ended his rookie year with 36 receptions from 49 targets on his way to 338 yards and two touchdowns.

The return to full fitness of Olsen hampered the player’s progress in 2019. Thomas saw much less of the field and was restricted to just three starts and 29 percent of the team’s snaps.

This was obviously going to result in a regression from a statistical perspective. But Thomas was economical with the targets he received, collecting 16 receptions from 30 balls thrown his way.

Thomas ended his sophomore season with 136 yards and a touchdown. But he became more valuable in blocking situations and this was an eye-catching improvement in his overall game.

The jury might still be out as to whether Thomas is capable of filling the void left by Pro Bowler Olsen. What he does in the lead-up to competitive action is going to go a long way to determining his role going forward.