Panthers add a tight end, then get defensive in NFL Draft

Ian Thomas is a pass-catching, athletic tight end expected to give Cam Newton another offensive option. (Darron Cummings)

The Carolina Panthers opened the fourth round by adding another offensive weapon for Cam Newton - and then turned to defense.


With the first pick Saturday, the 101st overall, the Panthers took tight end Ian Thomas from Indiana.

Thomas was raised by his siblings after both of his parents passed away when he was young. He is a former junior college standout before attending Indiana.



He goes 6-4, 258 and had five touchdown catches while averaging 15 yards per reception last season.



Later in the fourth round, the Panthers went with linebacker Marquis Haynes of Ole Miss, a relentless pass-rusher and disruptive run-defender with good size, length and speed for an off-the-line LB.

ESPN projects he'll be expected to contribute on special teams as he tries to grow into a role.

In the fifth round, the Panthers continued the defensive theme, picking up Maryland linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr., a once and future teammate of Panthers' first-round pick D.J. Moore.

"(Moore) actually was the first player to reach out to me, even before (the Panthers) gave me the call and before I got drafted," Carter told Panthers.com shortly after Carolina made him the 161st overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. "He told me he thought (the Panthers) would eventually take me.

North Carolina linebacker Andre Smith was the Panthers' choice with the 16th pick of the seventh round.

The Panthers wrapped up their draft by taking another defender, defensive tackle Kendrick Norton of Miami with the 24th pick of the seventh round.
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(Copyright ©2018 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved - The Associated Press contributed to this report.)