5 biggest Panthers’ 2021 NFL Draft needs at the midseason point

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Kawann Short
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Kawann Short /
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Carolina Panthers
(Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports) Brevin Jordan /

Tight End

Possible Options:

  • Kyle Pitts (Florida)
  • Pat Freiermuth (Penn State)
  • Brevin Jordan (Miami)
  • Hunter Long (Boston College)
  • Charlie Kolar (Iowa State)
  • Nick Eubanks (Michigan)

The Carolina Panthers made the difficult decision to part ways with Greg Olsen this offseason. The prolific tight end accumulated 524 receptions, 6.463 receiving yards, and 39 touchdowns during his nine-year spell with the organization. And his leadership within the locker room was another vital element of his contribution that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Ian Thomas was given the responsibility of filling Olsen’s shoes, something he has failed to do so far. The former fourth-round pick has been used sparingly within Carolina’s outstanding passing attack and it will take a huge turnaround for the player to convince his coaching staff that he is deserving of more targets.

In truth, this ship has already sailed. Offensive coordinator Joe Brady just doesn’t trust him enough, that is apparent. But for Thomas to get 15 targets from a play-caller who became renowned for his tight end sets at LSU is a damning indictment of his overall production.

Getting an exciting young prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft would be highly advantageous. This would give them a reliable and dynamic presence across the middle and could take the Panthers offense to even greater heights going forward.

As for Thomas, there is much work to do in order to forge a successful career not only in Carolina but the NFL in general.