With so much tailback talk surrounding the Carolina Panthers lately, I thought I would take a moment and go over a situation just as crucial. The Panthers tried to find a young tight end last year, bringing in a record number of prospects. Unfortunately, non panned out. This year the Panthers will be upping the ante. In fact, I would bet a six pack of michelob ultra that the Panthers select a tight end before the end of round two.
Sources “in the know” tell me there are three tight end possibilities in rounds one and two for the Panthers.
In round one, OJ Howard is in consideration. Although not the Panthers top choice at pick eight, he definitely is in the mix. Howard is widely regarded at the best tight end in the draft and a top 10 pick by most prognosticators. This would be one of the safer tier 2 picks, with more risk/reward being Christian McCaffrey. Of course, all of this only applies if tier 1 prospects such as Leonard Fournette, Jamal Adams and Solomon Thomas are off the board. In short, yes, OJ Howard at pick 8 is a real possibility.
At pick 40, David Njoku is in real contention for a Carolina Panthers jersey. Some believe Njoku may actually be the best tight end in the draft. I am not sure about that, but I can tell you there is real interest from the Panthers. There have been multiple meetings between the parties and a favorable impression was left. Bonus – There would be an instant bond between Greg Olsen and Njok, both being University of Miami alumni. Guys from “The U” stick together.
At pick 64 is my sleeper for the Carolina Panthers tight end selection. Evan Engram out of Ole Miss has not been discussed much by the local media, but he probably should be. At first glance Engram is a bit undersized for a tight end position. But further analysis reveals he would be not just a replacement, but a tremendous upgrade over Richie Brockel. The Panthers love having am H-Back type of tight end that can shift into the backfield and block when needed. Engram isn’t the biggest guy around, but he is aggressive in his blocks. In essence, he would be a faster Brockel with better hands. At the end of the second round, this would be a big win for the Panthers and go a long way to “evolving” their offense.