4 Carolina Panthers players we can safely call busts after the 2023 season

Things haven't gone according to plan for these Carolina Panthers players...

Terrace Marshall Jr.
Terrace Marshall Jr. / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Which Carolina Panthers players can we safely call draft busts after the 2023 season, one of the worst in franchise history?

One of Scott Fitterer's biggest complications as Carolina Panthers general manager was a failure to draft effectively. His background in college scouting brought optimism that things would improve. While Matt Rhule's final say on personnel matters complicated matters, it was an underwhelming three-year stint with the franchise.

Fitterer just couldn't find the right quality. There were a few hits along the way, but betting on athletic upside rather than legitimate college production proved to be his undoing.

Before writing this, I contemplated what should be considered a draft bust. For me, it's a prospect taken in the first 120 selections that didn't make a lasting contribution for one reason or another. Of course, it's subjective, but that's my take on it.

With this in mind, here are four Panthers players we can safely call busts after the 2023 season.

Ian Thomas - Carolina Panthers TE

Ian Thomas had countless chances to carve out a significant role for himself. The tight end was tabbed as Greg Olsen's heir apparent after being taken No. 101 overall in 2018. When the opportunity came to step up, he fluffed his lines.

Thomas couldn't cope with the pressure of being Carolina's go-to option at the position. The consistency Olsen brought to the table was sorely missed and remains so to this day. The former Indiana star has been relegated to an afterthought - a blocking specialist. With a new regime coming into the fold, his future is in doubt.

While the Panthers would need to eat some dead-cap money to remove Thomas after the previous regime inexplicably handed him a lucrative extension, it's something to consider. The juice is no longer worth the squeeze.