It's pretty obvious that the Carolina Panthers needed to make some changes in the tight end room this offseason after a very disappointing product in 2020. The team signed Dan Arnold in free agency but also lost Chris Manhertz to the Jacksonville Jaguars - a guy who Matt Rhule called the best blocking tight end in the NFL.
So, how do the Panthers go about replacing Manhertz? Well, they did so by using a 3rd round pick (89th overall) on Notre Dame's Tommy Tremble. The moment you flick on Tremble's tape, you get carried away with watching him plow people over and throw people around as a blocker. He can lineup at tight end and fullback which gives the Panthers flexibility after also losing Alex Armah to the New Orleans Saints.
To get an in-depth scout of the newest Panther tight end, I caught up with Bryan Driskell of Irish Breakdown on Sports Illustrated to provide some insight.
When you look at Tommy Tremble and his NFL projection you have to look at what he is right now and what he can be.
WHAT HE IS
Tremble is an athletic player who made a name for himself as a versatile and ferocious blocker. Despite being just a touch over 240 pounds, Tremble was just as effective blocking on the edge as he was in a wing alignment, in the slot, or as a fullback. He explodes off the ball, shows excellent punch and lower body power, and Tremble does a great job working his legs through contact.
His athleticism aids in his ability to dominate as a blocker. Tremble consistently wins off the line, he’s effective getting to the second level and to the perimeter, and he can work to overtake defenders on outside runs. Just a junior, Tremble still needs to improve blocking angles, at least from a consistency standpoint.
Tremble ran a 4.59 at the Notre Dame Pro Day, but reports coming out of Notre Dame is that he has tested even better than that in the past. His athleticism makes him very intriguing, but he wasn’t able to use it much in the pass game.
He performed well early in 2019 when Cole Kmet was out, but Tremble is a work in progress in the passing game. His route technique isn’t sharp and he must improve his decision-making out of breaks. Tremble shows good ball skills at times, but he will lose focus and catch easy throws.
WHAT HE CAN BE
Tremble has a lot more potential in the passing game than he showed at Notre Dame. He missed all but one game of his senior season and redshirted as a true freshman. This past season he caught eight passes for 104 yards in the first two games but all but disappeared after that. It was more about him just not being designed as part of the pass game, and Tremble’s route percentage dropped over 10% (48% to 37%) in 2020 from where it was in 2019.
The Panthers have basically two options with Tremble. Option one is to simply take advantage of what he does well and use him primarily as a blocker. Option two is to put in overtime to improve his route technique and focus in order to allow him to use his speed, foot quickness, and above-average ball skills more effectively in the passing game.
If Tremble’s pass game production matches his athletic skills he could end up being a steal.
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