3 Carolina Panthers position groups that must step up at the Cowboys

(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Royce Freeman
(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Royce Freeman /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /

Carolina Panthers TEs

Saying Darnold to Arnold was fun, but that will soon be a distant memory as Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer traded Dan Arnold and a third-round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for cornerback C.J. Henderson and fifth-rounder this week.

With the departure of Arnold, the door is wide open for fourth-year man Ian Thomas and rookie Tommy Tremble out of Notre Dame to stake their claim.

Thomas was drafted as the heir apparent to Greg Olsen but has underwhelmed thus far in Panther blue. Matt Rhule sang his praises this offseason as a player who has progressed well and ready to take the next step forward in his second year under a new offensive system.

At 6-foot-3 and 241 pounds, Tremble is well known for his blocking toughness and athletic ability but needs to work on his route tree and hands.

With continued growth, Tremble has the potential to be a starter in a few years under the tutelage of tight ends coach Brian Angelichio, but he needs to step up now when called upon to relieve Thomas or when the Panthers go to 12 or 22 personnel.

Without Christian McCaffrey as a safety blanket for Sam Darnold on short routes, both Thomas and Tremble must be able to get open in space to keep the chains moving.