Grading Carolina Panthers position groups on offense ahead of 2023 NFL Draft

Miles Sanders
Miles Sanders / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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Hayden Hurst
Hayden Hurst / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers TE group

This is another curious, and often overlooked, position in recent years for the Carolina Panthers.

After Greg Olsen was moved on, the tight-end room simply hasn't been the same in Carolina. Especially given that the heir apparent Ian Thomas has less than lived up to those lofty expectations.

It seemed as if the team was ready to move on from the polarizing starter after signing Dan Arnold and drafting Tommy Tremble. But that wasn't meant to be after a mid-season trade and a lack of development forced the team to rely upon Thomas even more, with very few positive results.

That tendency to neglect a position that is only rising in passing-game prominence seems to have finally come to an end with the shrewd acquisition of Hayden Hurst in free agency. A player that single-handedly outgained the entire Panthers tight end room last season.

This says less about Hursts' game than one might think, given that the team was only able to rack up a total of 417 receiving yards from the position all season.

However, this gives the Panthers a reliable pass-catching target at tight end for the first time since Olsen left. Something that the team has clearly missed especially in the red zone with no true jump ball threat to keep the defense honest.

With the combination of Hurst's receiving ability and Tremble's skills in the blocking game, it seems like the team finally has what it needs. It isn't flashy, and the position isn't going to break open any games, but the Panthers don't need it to.

All the franchise needs is a consistent outlet for a young quarterback to rely on. That's exactly what Hurst will provide them.

Pre-Draft Grade: B-

There won't be any stories written about how the Panthers' tight ends are changing the NFL. But this group will do the dirty work it needs and that's exactly the kind of thing the fanbase lives for.

Next. Grading the last 7 second-round picks made by Carolina Panthers. dark