4 Panthers players who could be benched with poor Week 7 showing

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /

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

Ian Thomas – Carolina Panthers TE

Ian Thomas has been a relative afterthought for the Carolina Panthers. He has just 11 targets to his name through six weeks and Joe Brady’s offense ranks No. 31 in the NFL in terms of tight end receptions.

This is a stark contrast to what the Panthers enjoyed when Greg Olsen was part of the franchise. The prolific veteran departed in free agency for the Seattle Seahawks after Carolina didn’t offer him a new deal. But any hopes they had of Thomas replicating his production already appear to be gone.

Coming up with the odd catch here or there is just not good enough. The tight end spot has increased significantly in terms of importance in the passing game and if the Panthers cannot rely on Thomas to get open consistently, then an alternative must be found.

That might be harsh after just six weeks, but it is something that is really hurting Carolina.

Brady got some real joy using his tight ends during his time at LSU, so there is little doubt he has the right packages available. However, there doesn’t appear to be any sort of confidence that Thomas is the man to get the job done, and another anonymous outing at the Saints might force Matt Rhule’s hand to go in a different direction.