Perfect Panthers Draft Target Emerges for Dave Canales' Offense

Former Texas Longhorns tight end Ja'Tavion Sanders could be the perfect addition to the Panthers' offense in 2024.
Feb 27, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Carolina Panthers head coach Dave Canales talks to the media
Feb 27, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Carolina Panthers head coach Dave Canales talks to the media / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers don’t have a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, but there’s still a ton of intrigue surrounding what they will do on Day 2 as they have Nos. 33, 39 and 65 overall picks.

Throughout the early stages of the offense, the Panthers have done an incredible job of fixing the offensive line, adding more veteran depth to the secondary, and acquiring another weapon for Bryce Young. 

At the same time, Carolina has lost numerous playmakers on defense and still needs to add a few more weapons at the skill positions, which can be addressed during the draft. One position of need for Carolina is tight end. 

Tommy Tremble and Ian Thomas are listed as the first two options at tight end for the Panthers. But with Dave Canales as the head coach, it wouldn’t be crazy to think that Carolina would go after a vertical threat at tight end in the draft.

Panthers News: Carolina Hosting Visit for Top Tight End Prospect Ja’Tavion Sanders

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported on Tuesday morning that the Panthers and Cleveland Browns are hosting Texas Longhorns tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders over the next couple of days.

The Browns already have one of the better tight ends in the league in David Njoku, so it looks like they are doing their homework on the class. However, Sanders would be a major upgrade for the Panthers’ offense and give Young another reliable target to throw to.

Sanders, who is viewed as one of the best tight ends in this year’s draft class, had a good 2023 season with the Longhorns. The 6-foot-3 pass-catcher had 45 receptions for 682 yards and two touchdowns.

Sanders’ stats from the last two seasons at Texas won’t wow anyone, but his athleticism and route running make him an intriguing prospect. That said, the young tight end still has to work on his blocking, which will help him get on the field.

Last season, we saw Cade Otton take a nice step forward in his development last year under Canales, recording 47 receptions (67 targets) for 455 yards and four touchdowns. He showed that not only can he block, but also be utilized in the passing game.

Sanders could become that security blanket for Young, who is looking to take that next step in his career this coming season.

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