4 biggest Carolina Panthers surprises from the 2024 NFL Draft

There were a few shocks along the way.
Dan Morgan
Dan Morgan / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Ja’Tavion Sanders fell into Carolina Panthers' lap

Every offseason since the departure of Greg Olsen in 2020, the Carolina Panthers' long-suffering fanbase has spoken about the need to improve the tight end position. Ian Thomas, Hayden Hurst, and Tommy Tremble have all been allowed to start at various stages and have not made the grade.

But finally, it seems the Panthers have a coaching staff in place that values the tight end position. Brock Bowers was the consensus No. 1 prospect in this class and his selection at No. 13 overall by the Las Vegas Raiders signified that. After the former Georgia stud, TE2 in the 2024 class was less clear.  

The most named top-two candidates were Texas’ Ja’Tavion Sanders and Kansas State’s Ben Sinnott. 

Sinnott was a riser on draft boards after a stellar NFL Scouting Combine. Both he and Sanders were expected to be Day 2 selections going potentially late into the second round.   

As it turned out, Sinnott was drafted No. 53 overall by the Washington Commanders. Surprisingly, Sanders continued to slide through Rounds 2 and 3. The Panthers selected him with the first pick on Day 3 of the draft, with many suggesting this was one of the steals of the draft.   

While Tremble has the potential to make notable improvements in a larger role, one must question if the player has reached his ceiling as a top-end TE2. While Sanders is a sub-par run blocker, the Panthers don’t need that aspect from the oncoming rookie - they need a reliable option for quarterback Bryce Young in the passing game.

Sanders could easily be just that. Despite being a smaller player at the position, his contested catch ability is excellent. The player consistently makes highlight reel grabs and knows how to get open. After years of mediocrity at the tight end position the Panthers may finally have a long-term option.