4 Carolina Panthers players who need extended reps in 2023 regular-season finale

It's time for these Carolina Panthers players to show what they've got...

Raheem Blackshear
Raheem Blackshear / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
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Stephen Sullivan - Carolina Panthers TE

When Stephen Sullivan joined the Carolina Panthers in 2021 following one year with the Seattle Seahawks, many thought this could be the athletic long-term tight end those in power had been seeking since Greg Olsen departed. To say it was a slow burn would be an understatement, but the former seventh-round pick out of LSU has shown signs of life this season.

Sullivan's been more involved in the passing game than ever before. He's still only featured in 24 percent of snaps on offense, but the 22 targets thrown in his direction indicate a level of confidence in his playmaking abilities.

The 40.9 percent catch success rate isn't ideal. Sullivan should arguably be making more of the physical tools at his disposal. Getting a prolonged look at the player as a primary weapon in Thomas Brown's offense versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is one way to find out for sure.

Ian Thomas is a lost cause. Tommy Tremble has developed slightly in 2023, but allocating significant targets in Sullivan's direction would be a great way to hold something of a final audition where the physical specimen is concerned.

It could go either way for Sullivan as it stands. A strong performance in Carolina's regular-season finale at Bank of America Stadium might tip the scales in his favor.