4 Carolina Panthers players with unrealistic expectations in 2024

Ja'Tavion Sanders
Ja'Tavion Sanders / Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman /
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Ja'Tavion Sanders - Carolina Panthers TE

The Carolina Panthers are desperate for improved production at the tight end position. Hayden Hurst couldn't meet expectations and had his campaign cruelly cut short by a serious concussion. He was unsurprisingly moved on despite no financial benefits to his early departure.

Dave Canales' offensive schematic concepts are friendlier to tight ends. Tommy Tremble should feature more in the passing game and hopes are high that he can excel in a contract year. The Panthers also picked up an intriguing option in the form of Ja'Tavion Sanders at No. 101 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Sanders emerged as a dependable option in the passing game during his final two seasons at Texas. With 99 receptions for 1,295 receiving yards and seven touchdowns over two campaigns, he has the tools needed to provide Carolina's offense with a much-needed sense of energy and dynamism.

Asking Sanders to contribute to the blocking aspect of playing the position isn't going to do him any favors initially. But in all honesty, that's not why the Panthers brought him into the fold to kick off Day 3 of the college selection process.

They need Sanders to become an immediate comfort blanket for quarterback Bryce Young. His athleticism and ball skills make him an enticing addition. If Canales can scheme up some mismatches for the rookie, opportunities will be there to thrive.

Expecting Sanders to propel himself into the No. 1 spot and attain high-end production is unfair and unrealistic in equal measure. There are some technical flaws to work out and the player's route tree must improve when going against NFL-caliber athletes who'll punish every mistake. Allowing him time to evolve gradually without putting too much pressure on his shoulders is the only way this selection is going to succeed.

Sanders is supremely talented, there's no getting away from that. Harnessing this correctly throughout a pivotal early transition for the player is the key to long-term sustainability.