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Panthers 2022 season opener countdown: 80 days to go

We’re counting down the days until the Panthers kick off the 2022 season.

NFL: SEP 19 Saints at Panthers Photo by Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’re 80 days away from the Panthers 2022 season opener, so that means today’s countdown piece is devoted to No. 80 on the roster — tight end Ian Thomas.

The Panthers drafted the 26-year-old Thomas (6’4, 260) in the fourth round (No. 101 overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft. He played college football at Indiana where he was an All Big Ten honorable mention in 2017. He averaged 37.6 receiving yards per game for the Hoosiers, and his touchdowns and yardage rank seventh all-time on Indiana’s single-season tight ends list.

In 2018, Thomas totaled the most receiving yards for a rookie tight end in Panthers franchise history. He has appeared in all 65 games since being drafted by Carolina, with 30 career starts. In his career he has tallied 90 receptions for 802 yards, 47 first downs and 4 touchdowns. The Panthers signed Thomas to a 3-year, $16.5 million contract in February, which pretty much guarantees him a spot on the 53-man roster this season.

Thomas will be competing for the No. 1 tight end spot on the depth chart with Tommy Tremble during training camp. While I’m confident he will earn the starting job over Tremble, at the very least he should see plenty of playing time as a rotational piece and occasional target for whoever ends up starting at quarterback this year.

What are you expecting from Thomas this year, Panthers fans? Will he earn the starting tight end spot? Share your thoughts with us!