4 important observations from Carolina Panthers 2024 OTAs Day 1

There was a lot to unpack from Day 1 of OTAs.
Dave Canales
Dave Canales / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages
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Ian Thomas catches the eye

After another underwhelming campaign with the Carolina Panthers in 2024, the status of Ian Thomas was hanging by a thread. Those in power were willing to remove underperforming veterans with little financial incentive during a busy offseason. However, the former fourth-round selection got a reprieve after taking another pay cut.

While Thomas gets the chance to compete for a roster spot and should make the team as a blocking specialist, there isn't much confidence in the veteran based on his production since Greg Olsen departed in 2020. This is his final shot at firmly establishing himself, but the margin for error is slimmer than ever before.

According to those in attendance for the opening day of OTAs, Thomas caught the eye throughout. He looked sharp in the passing game as Dave Canales got the tight ends heavily involved. This also included a reception from quarterback Bryce Young that might have gone for an 80-yard touchdown, which was among the biggest highlights from Day 1.

This was a huge step in the right direction, but nobody is getting too carried away.

Thomas has produced starring efforts throughout preparation periods before and fluffed his lines when the real action arrived. Perhaps Canales can ignite a spark under the player - especially considering Tommy Tremble and rookie Ja'Tavion Sanders are also vying for prominent targets - but there is simply no telling for sure.

There is enough of a sample size for fans to approach Thomas' outstanding start to OTAs with a sense of caution. Doing it in a t-shirt and shorts is one thing, but producing when the pads go on in a competitive regular-season setting is something the Indiana product hasn't accomplished since his rookie campaign.

At least this got the fanbase talking about Thomas again. His highlight-reel plays also didn't go unnoticed by Canales, who is pleased to see the player fighting for everything with extra competition for places.