Can Ian Thomas break out in 2020?
The 2020 season is unquestionably the biggest of Ian Thomas’ career to date. This is the moment he has been waiting for and there is a real chance for the player to become a starter in the NFL.
Much will depend on how head coach Matt Rhule likes about the player. Given there will be no OTAs this year and the possibility of a shortened training camp, it will make things difficult for anyone looking to make a big impression before the competitive games get underway.
Thomas has enough decent film for the new coach to see. His rookie year was very encouraging and he will have learned a lot from playing behind such an experienced pro as Greg Olsen.
This will stand him in good stead as he aims to become a more prominent part of the Carolina Panthers’ offense next season. Free-agent signing Teddy Bridgewater will need a dependable person to throw to across the middle and Thomas looks to fit the bill.
He has all the tools you are looking for in a productive tight end. Thomas is now set to be given an extended role in an offense that will still run through Christian McCaffrey. But there are going to be considerable opportunities to make a difference on play-action and in the red zone.
The NFC South is going to be immensely tough next season and the Panthers have become something of an afterthought thanks to the high-profile arrival of Tom Brady at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If Thomas can match or exceed expectations in Carolina, they might end up surprising a few.