5 Carolina Panthers who are already turning heads at 2024 OTAs

Some players have staked an early claim this offseason.
Xavier Legette
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There are opportunities for those within the Carolina Panthers as they embark on another new era. Dave Canales has the sort of presence that feels different from the head coaches who came before. He's enthusiastic, measured in his teaching methods, and is the sort of leader that the modern-day player responds well towards.

Of course, this isn't guaranteed to come with progress. But it's a good place to start considering how lackluster and devoid of motivation the Panthers became during one of the most dismal campaigns in franchise history last time around.

Canales and his staff are implementing their schematic concepts and ensuring everyone gets on the same page quickly. Fans and media members got another glimpse of this throughout the start of organized team activities this week.

While this was voluntary, the strong attendance indicates that players have bought in and want to stay caught up, so to speak. This is the opening step of what will hopefully become a prosperous preparation before Canales' men take the field in Week 1 at the New Orleans Saints.

With this in mind, here are five Panthers players who are already turning heads at 2024 OTAs.

Ian Thomas - Carolina Panthers TE

Not many envisaged Ian Thomas having anything other than a blocking role at this stage of his career. The tight end spurned several opportunities to fill the gaping hole left by Greg Olsen in 2020. The projected emergence of Tommy Tremble coupled with the Carolina Panthers taking Ja'Tavion Sanders at No. 101 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft left him buried down the depth chart.

Thomas took another pay cut this offseason, so he should make the team. Just what sort of role he'll have remains to be seen, but the former fourth-round selection out of Indiana did his chances of involvement some good thanks to an impressive start to organized team activities.

According to those in attendance, Thomas was explosive, displayed assured hands, and seemed to have a nice rapport with quarterback Bryce Young. There is a long way to go and the veteran has flattered to deceive before, so it'll be interesting to see if he can keep this up throughout the summer.