4 burning questions Panthers fans are asking ahead of Week 10 vs. Falcons

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Baker Mayfield
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Baker Mayfield /
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TE prospects and free agents for the Carolina Panthers

We are lacking a top-tier tight end, who are we looking at in this upcoming draft class? – Len Redd

Good question, Len. Carolina Panthers fans have been adamant about the underwhelming play at tight end over the last several seasons since Greg Olsen left the franchise.

While it would be nice to have a top-tier tight end like George Kittle or Travis Kelce, it’s important to level the expectations and be perfectly okay with a tight end that can be impactful on an adequate level. This is a lot better than what we have witnessed since Olsen’s days.

Let’s take a look at some tight-end prospects. I think the most popular one amongst Carolina fans is Georgia’s Darnell Washington.

Washington is a massive 6-foot-7, 270-pound tight end that has made life miserable for opposing linebackers and defensive backs. He’s an excellent run blocker with unreal athleticism and movement skills for a player his size.

Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer is arguably the best of the bunch thanks to his great ball skills, blocking ability, nuanced route-running tools, and tremendous run-after-catch ability.

Other prospects to watch this season include Utah’s Dalton Kincaid, Penn State’s Brenton Strange, Iowa’s Sam LaPorta, and South Carolina’s Jaheim Bell.

There are also free agents to consider next offseason. Irv Smith Jr. and Hayden Hurst could be potential options if Carolina wants to consider low-cost deals. If general manager Scott Fitterer wants to be bolder, Mike Gesicki and Dalton Schultz would be the big-ticket free agents in 2023 that he could go after in the open market.

Whichever direction the Panthers choose to go, I hope it will lead to more consistency and better play at a position that has lacked in those areas for the last few seasons.

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