Ian Thomas
Thomas with the Carolina Panthers in 2021
No. 80 – Carolina Panthers
Position:Tight end
Personal information
Born: (1996-06-06) June 6, 1996 (age 25)
Baltimore, Maryland
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:260 lb (118 kg)
Career information
High school:Digital Harbor
(Baltimore, Maryland)
NFL Draft:2018 / Round: 4 / Pick: 101
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career NFL statistics as of Week 14, 2021
Receiving yards:760
Receiving touchdowns:4
Player stats at NFL.com

Ian Thomas (born June 6, 1996) is an American football tight end for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Indiana, and was drafted by the Panthers in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Early life

Thomas's mother Martha died due to liver and kidney failure before Thomas was nine. His father died a year later due to a heart attack.[1]

College career

Thomas graduated from Nassau Community College in 2016, and joined Indiana for his junior year. Thomas played all 13 games during his first year at Indiana, acting as a blocking tight end and only recording only three catches.[2] During his senior year, after a game against Georgia Southern, in which he had a 71-yard touchdown, Thomas was named the Mackey Award Tight End of the Week.[3] As a senior, Thomas had 25 receptions for 376 yards and five touchdowns.[4]

Following his senior season at Indiana, Thomas was invited to the 2018 Senior Bowl.[5]

Professional career

On November 21, 2017, it was reported that Thomas has accepted his invitation to play in the 2018 Senior Bowl.[6] Thomas helped his draft stock by impressing scouts during Senior Bowl practices. On January 27, 2018, Thomas played in the Reese's Senior Bowl and was part of Houston Texans' head coach Bill O'Brien's South team that defeated the North 45–16. He participated at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and performed the majority of combine drills, but opted to skip the bench press due to a pre-existing shoulder injury.

External video
video icon Ian Thomas' NFL Combine Workout
video icon ESPN Prospect Profile: Ian Thomas

On April 3, 2018, Thomas attended Indiana's pro day, but chose to stand on his combine numbers and only ran positional drills. He also attended private meetings and workouts with the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars.[7] At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, his draft projections by NFL draft experts and scouts varied from as early as the second round to as late as the seventh round. The majority of experts projected him to be drafted in the second or third round. Thomas was also ranked as the fifth best tight end prospect in the draft by DraftScout.com and CBS Sports and was ranked the sixth best tight end by Scouts Inc.[8][9]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump
6 ft 3+58 in
(1.92 m)
259 lb
(117 kg)
32+12 in
(0.83 m)
10+12 in
(0.27 m)
4.74 s 1.56 s 2.70 s 4.20 s 7.15 s 36 in
(0.91 m)
10 ft 3 in
(3.12 m)
All values from NFL Combine[10]

The Carolina Panthers selected Thomas in the fourth round with the 101st overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He was the sixth tight end drafted in 2018.[11]

External video
video icon Panthers draft Ian Thomas 101st overall

On May 10, 2018, the Carolina Panthers signed Thomas to a four-year, $3.20 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $747,994.[12] He made his NFL debut in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. In the 16–8 victory, he had four receiving yards on his first two career receptions.[13] In Week 16 against the Atlanta Falcons, he scored his first professional touchdown on a one-yard reception from quarterback Taylor Heinicke.[14] In his rookie season, he appeared in all 16 games and started six of them. He totaled 36 receptions for 333 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.[15]

In the 2019 season, Thomas appeared in all 16 games, of which he started three. He totaled 16 receptions for 136 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown.[16]

On February 25, 2022, Thomas signed a three-year, $16.5 million contract extension with the Panthers.[17]


  1. ^ Shankle, Kris (March 21, 2018). "Ian Thomas' Search For Greatness Has Been a Long and Winding Road". The Hoosier Huddle. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  2. ^ Miller, Mike (August 28, 2017). "Thomas hungry to make a difference at tight end this fall". Hoosier Sports Report. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  3. ^ "Indiana's Ian Thomas Named Mackey Award Tight End of the Week". September 27, 2017. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  4. ^ "Ian Thomas 2017 Game Log". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  5. ^ Miller, Mike (November 20, 2017). "Thomas accepts invite to Senior Bowl". Hoosier Sports Report. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  6. ^ "Thomas accepts Senior Bowl invite". iuhoosiers.com. November 21, 2017. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  7. ^ "IU football's Ian Thomas turning NFL heads at tight end". indystar.com. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  8. ^ "NFL Ian Thomas -ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  9. ^ "Ian Thomas, DS #5 TE, Indiana". DraftScout.com. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  10. ^ "NFL Draft Profile: Ian Thomas". National Football League. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  11. ^ Strickland, Bryan (April 28, 2018). "Panthers draft Ian Thomas in fourth round". Panthers.com. Archived from the original on May 21, 2018. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  12. ^ "Spotrac.com: Ian Thomas contract". Spotrac.com. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  13. ^ "Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers – September 9th, 2018". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  14. ^ "Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers – December 23rd, 2018". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  15. ^ "Ian Thomas 2018 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  16. ^ "Ian Thomas 2019 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  17. ^ Gantt, Darin (February 25, 2022). "Panthers bring back tight end Ian Thomas". Panthers.com.