Grading every Carolina Panthers pick from the 2024 NFL Draft

Xavier Legette
Xavier Legette / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages
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Carolina Panthers drafted Ja'Tavion Sanders

  • Tight End | Texas Longhorns
  • Round No. 4 | No. 101 overall

Finding an athletic tight end to assist in the passing game was another strong need for the Carolina Panthers. Releasing Hayden Hurst after just one season was the latest in a long line of veteran acquisitions that couldn't lace Greg Olsen's boots. No additions were acquired in free agency, so all eyes immediately turned to the 2024 NFL Draft to see if those in power could find a dynamic option capable of making an immediate contribution.

After biding their time, the Panthers began Day 3 of the draft by selecting Ja'Tavion Sanders at No. 101 overall. The Texas prospect might be a non-factor right now as a blocker, but Carolina doesn't need him for that - at least initially.

Sanders will be tasked with providing Bryce Young with dependability and yards after the catch potential over short-to-intermediate routes. His ball skills are elite, which enables the player to make tough catches and get the football from its highest point with ease. This is matched by sharp route-running and the knowledge to manipulate opposing defensive backs in the red zone.

Get the football in Sanders' hands, and good things happen. It was surprising to see the player fall out of the opening three rounds looking at the skill set he brings to the table. This was arguably down to his inability to be effective as an in-line blocker more than anything else.

Sanders and Tommy Tremble could become a potentially productive tandem, with Ian Thomas still around as a blocking specialist. While expecting him to have a breakout campaign similar to Sam LaPorta's with the Detroit Lions in 2023 would be extremely unfair, his athleticism and natural playmaking ability could ensure a decent role early on.

Draft Grade: A

This was the definition of a high-value selection, one that could solve an ongoing compilation and give Young a tight-end security blanket he didn't have the benefit of during a rookie season to forget.