3 tight ends Carolina Panthers can draft to replace Hayden Hurst

The Carolina Panthers desperately need a pass-catching tight end.

Hayden Hurst
Hayden Hurst / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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Who could the Carolina Panthers target to replace veteran tight end Hayden Hurst if they went down the 2024 NFL Draft route?

The Carolina Panthers have done away with most of the established veterans signed by previous general manager Scott Fitterer this offseason. While the salary-cap relief was minimal, those in power felt like this was the best route forward to provide financial flexibility to build around quarterback Bryce Young throughout his rookie deal.

Hayden Hurst was let go after an underwhelming season. Injuries and a serious concussion didn't help, but the veteran tight end became a bit-part player even when healthy. Yet another failed acquisition at a position that's been crying out for consistency since Greg Olsen departed.

Hurst found a home quickly after signing a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Chargers. The Panthers haven't keyed in on a replacement during the first wave of free agency - something that indicates they might have their eye on a prospect emerging from the college ranks if the same trend continues.

With this in mind, here are three 2024 NFL Draft prospects the Panthers could acquire to replace Hurst.

Carolina Panthers could draft Jaheim Bell

It seems unlikely that the Carolina Panthers will select a tight end early on Day 2 unless an opportunity they can't pass up falls into their laps. That said, there looks to be some decent options further down the pecking order worthy of consideration. Jaheim Bell fits into this category.

Bell thrived after transferring from South Carolina to Florida State in time for the 2023 season. He's explosive, is a mismatch in contested catch situations, and it seems like he's only just scratching the surface of what he might be capable of.

Someone with the shrewd offensive mind of Dave Canales could find ways to get Bell involved right out of the gate. Tommy Tremble might get the first shot at becoming a genuine pass-catching threat at the position, but having this sort of security blanket wouldn't be the worst idea in the world.