Carolina Panthers 7-round 2024 NFL mock draft: Pre-combine edition

The NFL Scouting Combine has finally arrived...

Payton Wilson
Payton Wilson / Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports
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sanders. . Tight End. player. . . JaTavion Sanders. 65. 467. JaTavion Sanders

Carolina Panthers select Ja'Tavion Sanders

  • Tight End | Texas Longhorns
  • Round No. 3 | No. 65 overall

In this mock draft scenario, some of the better wide receiver prospects in the early portion of Day 2 are off the board and there isn't enough value available that would raise eyebrows here. However, the Carolina Panthers need playmakers and adequate targets around second-year quarterback Bryce Young. This is a step in that direction.

While the tight end position isn't high on the Panthers' list of priorities, there is uncertainty around Hayden Hurst's future as the starter in Carolina. Ian Thomas should be let go, leaving Tommy Tremble as a potential building block for the franchise in 2024. Even so, they need a playmaker in the passing game.

Averaging nearly 16 yards per reception last season, Ja'Tavion Sanders fills the need for a receiving tight end and a potential big slot option early on. For someone who is 6-foot-4 and 243 pounds, the Texas prospect moves very well and can create after the catch.

The two-time All-Big 12 selection offers strong hands and good fluidity as a runner in the open field. He can be utilized in the screen game and offers plenty of growth as a blocker in the run game. Sanders won't ever win consistently at the line of scrimmage, but his skill set as a receiver early on will allow him to be a contributor in any NFL offense.

Sanders would be a complementary No. 2 tight end in the Panthers offense. He could be used creatively under head coach and offensive play-caller Dave Canales.