5 Panthers players that must perform for a surprise 2021 playoff berth

Dean Jones
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Dan Arnold /

Dan Arnold – Carolina Panthers TE

Not having any reliable pass-catching presence from the tight end position was an unfamiliar situation for the Carolina Panthers to be in last season. Greg Olsen’s importance to the offensive scheme was there for all to see and not having him around in 2020 was missed in key moments and in red-zone situations.

The Panthers recognized the need for an upgrade in this area, acquiring Dan Arnold in free agency. His production is on an upward curve if his efforts for the Arizona Cardinals last season were any indication, so there might be even more to come from a player who is already familiar with Joe Brady’s scheme.

Carolina has an abundance of weapons in the passing game to call upon. Arnold should see his fair share of targets regardless, with his ability to get open quickly at the business end of the field something that could be of real use.

There is plenty of intrigue in third-round pick Tommy Tremble, who could become the complete tight end package with more refinement in the passing game. Ian Thomas has been praised for his attitude during Carolina’s early offseason program, although it would be a huge surprise if he forced his way to the top of the depth chart again.

Arnold has a big opportunity awaiting him during the upcoming campaign. If he can make the most of it, this offense is going to be incredibly difficult to stop.