Ian Thomas

Ian Thomas

Tight End #80
Team: Carolina Panthers
Ht / Wt:6'4" / 259 lb.
Born:June 6, 1996
Drafted:2018 / Rd. 4 (101)
Draft Team:CAR

Ian Thomas: Next up to replace Olsen

Thomas is expected to replace Greg Olsen as the Panthers' starting tight end, ESPN.com's David Newton reports.

Analysis: The 2018 fourth-round pick already has seen plenty of playing time in the NFL, thanks in no small part to Olsen's late-career health struggles. Thomas has had his own struggles with drops (three each season) and blocking, but he's an excellent athlete -- 4.74 40-yard dash, 36-inch vertical at 259 pounds -- who will be just 24 years old for the entire 2020 campaign. He's also shown glimpses of fantasy production in his 10 career games with two-thirds or more of offensive snaps, averaging 4.0 catches for 39.4 yards and 0.3 touchdowns (9.7 PPR points) on 5.9 targets. The Panthers may bring in a draft pick and/or veteran to compete for snaps, but Thomas should at least have some chance to secure a three-down role. Meanwhile, Olsen is expected to visit with Buffalo, Washington and Seattle in the coming weeks.

February 6, 2020 7:05 AM EST

Ian Thomas: Makes one grab in finale

Thomas, who caught one pass for 12 yards in Sunday's 42-10 loss to the Saints, finishes up the 2019 season with 16 receptions (on 30 targets) for 136 yards and a touchdown in 16 games played.

Analysis: Thomas saw his role expanded after Greg Olsen went down early in his rookie season, but took a back seat to the former Pro Bowler upon his return in 2019. That situation resulted in noticeable declines from Thomas' 36/333/2 line last season, but with a handful of drops on the year as well, Thomas didn't help his case much either. On the bright side, with Olsen admittedly unlikely to be back with the Panthers in 2020, Thomas could have the tight end position to himself. Such a scenario would boost Thomas' upside, but along with Thomas' on-field development, Carolina's head coach and quarterback situation could play large factors in his outlook next season.

December 31, 2019 1:33 PM EST

Ian Thomas: Practicing in full

Thomas (ankle) was a full participant in Thursday's practice, Steve Reed of the Associated Press reports.

Analysis: Thomas was limited in practice to begin the week, but he now appears to have put his ankle issue behind him. With Greg Olsen (knee) also expected to suit up for Sunday's regular-season finale against the Saints, Thomas is on track to split reps at the tight end position once again Week 17.

December 26, 2019 11:47 AM EST

Ian Thomas: Limited by ankle issue

Thomas was listed as a limited participant on Wednesday's estimated practice report due to an ankle injury, Alaina Getzenberg of The Charlotte Observer reports.

Analysis: Just like Thomas, Greg Olsen (knee) also drew a "limited" tag, but both of Carolina's top tight ends are expected to be ready to go for Sunday's game against the Saints. After starting in place of a concussed Olsen in Weeks 14 and 15, Thomas predictably saw his role decline in last weekend's loss to the Colts. Thomas played only 46 percent of the Panthers' offensive snaps in the blowout, finishing with three catches for 16 yards on three targets.

December 25, 2019 1:12 PM EST

Ian Thomas: Makes three grabs

Thomas caught all three of his targets for 16 yards in Sunday's 38-6 loss to the Colts.

Analysis: Thomas wasn't as big of factor with starting tight end Greg Olsen returning to the lineup, but at least hauled in all of his looks from rookie quarterback Will Grier. That actually saw Thomas top Olsen's two catches, but the veteran managed 33 yards from his five targets.

December 23, 2019 10:21 AM EST

Ian Thomas: Makes two catches vs. Seahawks

Thomas caught two of four targets for 23 yards during Sunday's 30-24 loss to the Seahawks.

Analysis: Although Thomas started in the absence of Greg Olsen (concussion) in a favorable matchup on paper, he simply wasn't used often enough to make much of an impact. The lack of production was likely especially frustrating for fantasy owners who scooped Thomas up after he received 10 targets a week ago. Even if the second-year pro receives another starting nod next Sunday against the Colts, this outing illustrates the risk associated with starting him in fantasy lineups.

December 15, 2019 4:27 PM EST

Ian Thomas: Set to start again

Thomas is poised to make another start after teammate Greg Olsen (concussion) was ruled out for Sunday's game against the Seahawks.

Analysis: Thomas took full advantage of the same opportunity last week, hauling in five of 10 targets for 57 yards and a touchdown in a 40-20 loss to the Falcons. He isn't likely to repeat the target volume, but he should get plenty of snaps against a Seattle defense that's given up the second-most receiving yards (918) to tight ends this year.

December 13, 2019 11:04 AM EST

Ian Thomas: Year's best outing against Atlanta

Thomas caught five of 10 targets for 57 yards and a touchdown during Sunday's 40-20 loss to the Falcons.

Analysis: With Greg Olsen (concussion) inactive, Thomas' Week 14 output proved to be better than that of his preceding 12 combined, as he tied or surpassed his previous season totals in targets (nine), receptions (five) and yards (28) in a matchup against Atlanta's bottom-10 pass defense. Should Olsen be forced to miss a second consecutive outing Week 15 against Seattle, Thomas is a worthwhile consideration facing off against a Seahawks defense that enters Sunday Night Football as a bottom-five unit in terms of catches (77), receiving yards (802) and touchdowns (six) allowed to opposing tight ends this season.

December 8, 2019 3:19 PM EST

Ian Thomas: Will be part of TE committee

Interim coach Perry Fewell said the Panthers will have a committee approach at tight end Sunday in Atlanta due to the likely absence of Greg Olsen (concussion), Joe Person of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Fewell mentioned Thomas, Chris Manhertz and fullback Alex Armah as the options to cover for Olsen. Having said that, Thomas is the most likely of the trio to make an impact as a pass catcher. While he has just five receptions on nine targets in 12 games this season, he finished his rookie year in 2018 with a 36-333-2 line across 16 contests.

December 5, 2019 11:49 AM EST

Ian Thomas: Best game thus far

Thomas caught all four of his targets for 24 yards in Sunday's 29-21 loss to the Redskins.

Analysis: Thomas entered Sunday with merely one catch on the season, but saw his role expanded after fellow tight end Greg Olsen was concussed during the third quarter. That promotion helped him put together his best performance of the campaign, and he'd figure to keep working with Carolina's starters if Olsen is unavailable in Week 14 versus the Falcons. With Olsen injured last year, Thomas started six games as a rookie, totaling 24 catches for 220 yards and a touchdown in those appearances.

December 2, 2019 7:49 AM EST

Ian Thomas: First catch of season

Thomas caught one of two targets for four yards in Sunday's 34-31 loss to the Saints.

Analysis: Thomas, who hauled in 36 passes as a rookie, needed until Week 12 to make his first grab of Year 2. Of course, with Greg Olsen healthy this season, Thomas' involvement has been scaled back significantly, but it's still surprising how little of a factor he's been in 2019.

November 25, 2019 6:41 AM EST

Ian Thomas: Uninvolved versus Texans

Thomas was not targeted in Sunday's 16-10 win over the Texans.

Analysis: Thomas played 10 offensive snaps, which actually set a new season high for him. Still, such little playing time unsurprisingly prevented Thomas from making an impact, and he remains without a catch through four games. With Greg Olsen hardly ever leaving the field, Thomas has seen his role at tight end marginalized to begin his second season.

September 30, 2019 5:36 PM EST

Ian Thomas: Barely plays Thursday

Thomas was not targeted in Thursday's loss to the Buccaneers.

Analysis: The 23-year-old played only two offensive snaps and has seen only six total snaps through two weeks. Chris Manhertz played 32 snaps as a blocking specialist, leaving little opportunity for Thomas while Greg Olson remains on the field.

September 13, 2019 8:48 AM EST

Ian Thomas: Just one target

Thomas didn't catch his lone target in Sunday's 30-27 loss to the Rams.

Analysis: Thomas featured on merely four offensive plays, as veteran Greg Olsen commanded all but four snaps. Although the Panthers see Thomas as an importance piece behind the injury-prone Olsen, as long as the former Pro Bowler is healthy, Thomas may be hard pressed to nail down consistent meaningful involvement.

September 10, 2019 6:01 AM EST

Ian Thomas: Returns to face Pats

Thomas couldn't haul in his lone target in Thursday night's 10-3 preseason loss to the Patriots.

Analysis: Thomas overcame his minor rib injury suffered in Carolina's exhibition opener to feature for 31 snaps, which tied for the team lead on offense. Although he didn't make any catches in that extended action, Thomas still figures to be an important piece to the Panthers, especially given fellow tight end Greg Olsen's recent track record of foot injuries.

August 23, 2019 7:02 AM EST

Ian Thomas: Back at practice

Thomas (ribs) was able to return for Sunday's practice, Steve Reed of the Associated Press reports.

Analysis: Thomas had been dealing with a rib injury ever since the team's first preseason game, but has seemed to return to full health. Now that he's healthy, it's likely that he'll suit up for Thursday's preseason game against New England, but expect the team to provide an official update as the game nears closer.

August 18, 2019 11:05 AM EST

Ian Thomas: Missing another day

Thomas (ribs) isn't practicing Wednesday, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Thomas suffered the injury in Carolina's preseason opener and now appears likely to sit out Friday's exhibition against the Bills. With 34-year-old starter Greg Olsen an obvious candidate to be rested, Bill Voth of the Panthers' official site speculates that third-string tight end Chris Manhertz could be busy Friday night.

August 14, 2019 8:17 AM EST

Ian Thomas: Not practicing Sunday

Thomas (ribs) sat out of practice Sunday, Brendan Marks of The Charlotte Observer reports.

Analysis: Thomas sustained the injury in Thursday's preseason opener against Chicago. It's a tough break for the 23-year-old, who had also been dealing with a leg injury during training camp. While Thomas is sidelined, Chris Manhertz will pick up the backup reps behind Greg Olsen.

August 11, 2019 12:35 PM EST

Ian Thomas: Dealing with injury

Thomas is questionable to return to Thursday's preseason game against the Bears with a rib injury, Joe Person of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: It's unclear how Thomas picked up the injury, but this is a tough break for a player that had been dealing with a leg injury heading into camp. It's likely that the team holds the veteran out for the rest of the game as a precaution, but expect the team to update his status following the game. In the meantime, Chris Manhertz stands to see an increase in snaps as long as Thomas is sidelined.

August 8, 2019 6:17 PM EST

Ian Thomas: Ready to rock

Thomas (leg) wasn't placed on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list Wednesday, signaling he's healthy for the start of training camp, Joe Person of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Thomas was limited to riding a stationary bike during minicamp just a month ago, but seems to be fully recovered. Now that he's healthy, the 2018 fourth-round pick will enter training camp second on the depth chart, but Greg Olsen's recent injury history suggests Thomas has a decent shot to make starts before the end of the season. He performed admirably in Olsen's absence last season, averaging four catches for 36.7 yards on six targets in six starts last season sans Olsen.

July 24, 2019 5:18 PM EST

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