Why Stantley Thomas-Oliver could be a steal for the Panthers

(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) Stantley Thomas-Oliver III
(Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) Stantley Thomas-Oliver III /

Cornerback Stantley Thomas-Oliver III could emerge as yet another NFL Draft steal by the Carolina Panthers.

We are now just 25 days away from the Carolina Panthers taking part in their season opener. The time for speculation and predictions are almost at an end. And it is going to be immensely interesting to see how this young core comes together in the face of stern competition.

There is nothing much in the way of expectations surrounding the Carolina Panthers in 2020. This is something that might work to their advantage. But if things do not come together quickly, then it could be a long campaign for all associated with the organization.

The Panthers might have the potential to surprise a few provided everything clicks into place right away. Their offense has the scope to be great. And they will be further aided by a consistent quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater distributing the ball following his free-agent arrival from the New Orleans Saints.

Carolina’s defense comes with far more concerning elements. Coordinator Phil Snow has a big job on his hands trying to mold this revamped group into a competitive unit. And their bid to go younger was further reflected by a decision to allocate every 2020 NFL Draft pick on the defensive side of the ball.

Continuing our countdown feature ahead of the new season, we now turn our attention to Carolina’s No. 25. Stantley Thomas-Oliver III rounded-off a historic draft from the Panthers in 2020. And although he comes into the league as a relatively unfancied seventh-round prospect. There is every chance he can become a real asset to the organization.

Stantley Thomas-Oliver III will only get better with the Carolina Panthers.

Thomas-Oliver began his college career as a wide receiver at Florida International. This did not come with the greatest amount of success. And head coach Butch Davis offered the player an avenue onto the cornerback rotation as a result.

This is something that Thomas-Oliver agreed to. And it proved to be an inspired decision in no uncertain terms.

His transition to the secondary was incredibly impressive. Thomas-Oliver’s anticipation and experience playing as a wideout did him a tremendous amount of good. And it eventually saw the player record 94 combined tackles, 65 solo tackles, seven tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, one forced fumble, and 18 pass deflections over his final two years in college.

Thomas-Oliver was subsequently given a chance to further develop his outstanding skillset in a professional environment. Much more will be needed at the next level. But given how well the corner has adjusted to the position, it would be a surprise if the rookie did not continue trending on an upward curve.

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Whether Thomas-Oliver will be ready to become part of the rotation from the word go remains to be seen. Seventh rounders normally take some time to find their feet. But the player can be a difference-maker on special teams during this period of transition.

There is plenty to like about the athletic traits that Thomas-Oliver brings to the table. And cornerback is an area of the depth chart that will provide opportunities for those who impress during training camp.

Thomas-Oliver ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He is able to go down the field well with his receivers. But he will need to improve areas such as press coverage and tackling if he wants to forge a successful career at the next level.

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The sky is the limit for Thomas-Oliver if he continues to develop at his current rate. The Panthers have enjoyed some fine success with their late draft selections in recent years. And their latest seventh-round pick has a good chance of adding his name to the list.