The ever-durable Greg Olsen is slated to be Carolina's starting tight end for a fourth-straight season in 2014. The 29-year-old has played in all 16 regular season games for six consecutive years, dating back to his time in Chicago, and should again be one of Cam Newton's primary targets.
After Olsen, though, there is much less certainty amongst the five other tight ends who will be in Panthers' camp. How will it shake out?
Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer offered his take on Saturday:
"They’ll have to cut a few of them, which should make for a spirited competition behind starter Greg Olsen," Person said of the abundance of tight ends. "The Panthers will go to camp with six tight ends, and free agent acquisition Ed Dickson looks like he’ll have a spot after an impressive showing during OTAs.
"Former Oregon tight end Brandon Williams has come a long way as a blocker, but still needs polish as a receiver. Tight end/fullback Richie Brockel is a versatile blocker and special teams player, although the Panthers have another fullback in the mix now that Michael Zordich has returned from a knee injury that cost him his entire rookie season."
Panthers reporter David Newton of ESPN's NFL Nation projects the Panthers to keep five tight ends on its roster, when all is said and done: Olsen, Dickson, Brockel, Williams and Mike Mitchell. Here's Newton to explain why the need for so many tight ends.
"Normally I would say four players here, but the Panthers plan to run a lot of two-tight-end sets and Brockel also doubles as a fullback. Williams is the wild card. He's shown flashes and if he continues to impress in training camp he could be almost like an extra wide receiver."