3 surprising standouts from Carolina Panthers 2024 offseason workouts

These players did their chances a tremendous amount of good.
Ian Thomas
Ian Thomas / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Ian Thomas - Carolina Panthers TE

We get it. Ian Thomas has done nothing to warrant confidence about his chances heading into the final year of his deal. The Carolina Panthers thought he'd be the heir to Greg Olsen's prolific reign as the team's No. 1 tight end option. He failed to meet even modest expectations over the last four years.

Thomas took another pay cut to stick around and fight for his spot this offseason. This raised urgency coupled with the arrival of rookie Ja'Tavion Sanders should provide the former Indiana star will all the motivation needed to silence his ever-increasing doubters.

Dave Canales plans to utilize tight ends heavily within his offensive system. It became an afterthought under the previous two head coaches, so all hope is not lost with the likes of Thomas and Tommy Tremble if they're deployed to suit their strengths.

The former fourth-round selection impressed over early workouts based on reports from those in attendance. Thomas made a few splash plays and continued to evolve as a blocker. He's also benefitting greatly from improved schematic concepts based on comments via Athlon Sports.

"It’s perfect for tight ends because you get to be yourself. They give you a lot of opportunities, a lot of chances to fit in and mold into the offense. It’s different setups that have given us mismatches. It is working well so far."

Ian Thomas via Athlon Sports

Thomas has fooled fans during the preseason before. The athleticism and physicality have always been there. They just haven't come to the fore effectively in a competitive setting despite a highly encouraging rookie campaign in 2018.

He knows - or should know - this is the last chance saloon. Anything less than improved consistency and making every target count will see the Panthers go in a different direction next season. But there's a growing sense within the building that Thomas could be in line for improved fortunes with Canales leading the charge.