4 Carolina Panthers players who are not safe after the 2024 NFL Draft

These Carolina Panthers are fighting for their future post-draft.
Terrace Marshall Jr.
Terrace Marshall Jr. / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Stephen Sullivan - Carolina Panthers TE

The Carolina Panthers needed to find a better option at the tight end position at some stage during the 2024 NFL Draft. Dan Morgan and Dave Canales highlighted their confidence in Tommy Tremble's potential for improvements with additional responsibilities, but finding a contingency plan was a realistic avenue of pursuit if the right situation emerged.

As it turned out, the Panthers found an intriguing pass-catching option when Ja'Tavion Sanders fell into their laps at No. 101 overall. The Texas prospect won't offer much from a blocking standpoint, but he's a slick route-runner with explosive burst and strong hands. With a smooth transition, he could become a useful asset for quarterback Bryce Young to call upon immediately, especially in red-zone situations.

What this means for those lower down the tight-end pecking order remains to be seen. Ian Thomas agreed to take a pay cut and seems likely to stick around as a blocking specialist unless there's a drastic shift in course. This places Stephen Sullivan's aspirations firmly under the microscope.

Sullivan's been around for a few years without firmly establishing himself as a dependable target. Unless there is a meteoric rise from the former seventh-round selection out of LSU, he'll be firmly on the chopping block after Sanders' arrival.

Much like the situation with Terrace Marshall Jr., Sullivan has some outstanding athletic traits. Unfortunately, it hasn't come together fully. Dave Canales will be his third permanent head coach since joining the Panthers, so he needs to start well to carve out a role for himself.

In truth, this seems unlikely. Sullivan will get a chance to impress throughout offseason workouts, but anything less than jaw-dropping output could see the player become surplus to requirement at some stage.

Canales and Morgan have removed any semblance of emotional attachment from their roster construction. They won't hesitate to cut Sullivan loose if they feel he isn't up to the required standard.