Carolina Panthers face added dilemma with potential TE draft target

Things are going to get interesting...
Ben Sinnott
Ben Sinnott / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers could be faced with an added dilemma in their potential pursuit of 2024 NFL Draft prospect Ben Sinnott.

It's no secret that the Carolina Panthers have desperately lacked a consistent pass-catching option at the tight end position since Matt Rhule let Greg Olsen walk for the Seattle Seahawks during 2020 free agency. Something that must be rectified moving forward if quarterback Bryce Young wants to stand any chance of living up to lofty expectations.

The options on Carolina's roster are a little thin. Hayden Hurst was released after an underwhelming first campaign with the franchise. Ian Thomas looks nothing more than a blocking presence after failing to capitalize on several opportunities. Dave Canales and Dan Morgan are high on Tommy Tremble, but there's just no telling whether he can become a prominent feature with such a small sample size over three years.

While an increased role for Tremble could help, the Panthers are wise to examine draft prospects in greater detail. Those in power will welcome Texas standout Ja'Tavion Sanders this week. They've also spent time with Ben Sinnott on a private visit, who looks like another potential difference-maker providing his transition from college to the pros goes smoothly.

Carolina Panthers must strike quickly to land Ben Sinnott

Sinnott was seen as a mid-round prospect with upside heading into the evaluation process. However, a rising and respected analyst believes the Panthers need to act fast if they decide to identify the Kansas State standout as one of their preferred targets.

Jordan Reid of ESPN - speaking to people around the league - believes Sinnott could be the second tight end off the board after Georgia phenom Brock Bowers becomes a first-round pick. This is thanks to his versatile skill set and an impressive set of testing scores at the NFL Scouting Combine.

"Scouts are enamored with Kansas State's Ben Sinnott. He has a lot of fans as a Day 2 target. Scouts who I spoke to raved about his versatile skill set as a pass-catcher and blocker, and many believe he simply offers more than [Ja'Tavion] Sanders. It helps that Sinnott put on a show at the combine; he had the highest vertical (40 inches), longest broad jump (10-foot-6) and fastest three-cone drill (6.82 seconds) of all tight ends. Don't be surprised to see Sinnott as the second tight end off the board."

Jordan Reid, ESPN

This seems to suggest the league is higher on Sinnott than most mock drafts. Not an uncommon occurrence, but it's something the Panthers must be mindful of if they're banking on the player being available in Rounds 3 or 4.

Reid's revelation indicates Sinnott could be a second-round or early third-round selection when it's all said and done. The Panthers have two picks in this round - No. 33 and No. 39 overall. While that's seen as too high to be taking the tight end according to most, Carolina must strike with conviction if those in power are convinced this is the move that finally solves complications at the position since Olsen's departure.

Morgan has the chance to build on ever-growing foundations after making an impressive start to his time as general manager. Navigating the draft successfully will be another pivotal stepping stone to achieving this feat. If he feels like Sinnott has the credentials to provide Young with a reliable weapon across the middle and in red-zone situations, the front-office leader shouldn't hesitate.

After all, waiting around and panicking when things didn't go their way is one of the primary reasons why the previous regime is no longer around.