4 Panthers who could emerge as major contributors in 2020

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Marquis Haynes
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Marquis Haynes /
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Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Ian Thomas /

Scouting Report. TE. IANTHOMAS. player. 87. Pick Analysis. CAROLINA PANTHERS. 2

Carolina Panthers Player No. 3: Ian Thomas (TE)

There is plenty of responsibility on the shoulders of Ian Thomas next season. Letting someone with the experience and production of Greg Olsen leave in free agency was a bold move by the Carolina Panthers. And their decision not to bring in any significant reinforcements at the tight end position this offseason puts the onus squarely on their new No. 1 option to deliver.

Thomas is ready and more than capable of filling the void left by Olsen. His performance as a starter during his rookie campaign saw the former Indiana star grab 36 of 47 targets for 333 yards, two touchdowns, and 20 first downs.

He was unable to build on this as a sophomore. But that was largely down to a lack of minutes as Olsen stayed relatively healthy. Thomas was only targeted 30 times, gaining 16 receptions for 136 yards and one score.

The player will need to improve on last season’s 53.3 percent catch percentage if he wants to make the most out of this starting chance. Dropped passes were something of a problem for the 2018 fourth-round pick. And this is something that needs to be eradicated from his game going forward.

Related Story. Carolina Panthers: Dropped passes will need to improve in 2020. light

The Panthers have placed a significant amount of faith in Thomas to deliver on his promise. He has the security of knowing there isn’t a primary backup option that could come in if he is underperforming. And this added confidence could see a major contribution from the player in 2020.