Thomas caught two of three targets for 10 yards in Sunday's 31-24 loss to the Falcons. Thomas played all but three offensive snaps in the wake of Greg Olsen (foot) going down in Week 1. While that heightened involvement is really encouraging for Thomas, the rookie fourth-rounder's sparse utilization in the passing game shows he still has some way to go in establishing a trusted rapport with quarterback Cam Newton. Fortunately for him, he figures to continue to get the necessary playing time, making his development worthwhile to monitor in the coming weeks.
Thomas is likely to serve as the Panthers' primary tight end with Greg Olsen (foot) expected to be sidelined for at least a month, David Newton of ESPN.com reports. Chris Manhertz also lingers as an experienced reserve option at tight end, and the Panthers will most likely add depth to the position group via signing or trade, but Thomas, a rookie fourth-round pick from Indiana, should get the first crack at replacing Olsen thanks to the upside he offers as a pass catcher. Though the 22-year-old was considered raw heading into the 2018 NFL Draft, he offers quality athleticism at the position and already drew a couple looks from quarterback Cam Newton in the season-opening win over the Cowboys, corralling both of his targets and gaining four yards. Head coach Ron Rivera seemed confident Monday in Thomas' ability to fill in for Olsen, stating that the rookie "has been prepared for this moment" while praising his development as a blocker and route runner, according to Brendan Marks of The Charlotte Observer.
Thomas participated in Monday's practice, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer reports. The reason for Thomas having missed Sunday's practice remains undisclosed, but it appears his absence wasn't due to injury. The combine standout will continue to compete with Chris Manhertz for the No. 2 tight end role in training camp.
Thomas did not participate in Sunday's practice due to an undisclosed reason, Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer reports. The reason for Thomas' absence is unclear at this point, but the possibility of an injury could hamper his chances of winning the No. 2 spot at tight end even with Chris Manhertz (foot) still on the PUP list. More information regarding Thomas' status should become available prior to the Panthers' preseason opener against the Bills on Thursday.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|5||10/07||New York Giants||1||1.00|
|9||11/04||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||27||10.00|
|13||12/02||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||27||10.00|
|15||12/18||New Orleans Saints||8||4.00|
|17||12/30||@New Orleans Saints||8||4.00|
|3 Year Avg||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0|