Greg Olsen has always possessed the talent of a special receiving tight end and seems poised to take that another step in 2013. Olsen never seemed to find the right mix of quarterback and coaching elements with the Chicago Bears and has endured some uneven passing in his two seasons with the Carolina Panthers.
For all the great things Cam Newton has done to revitalize this offense, his accuracy on intermediate routes leaves much consistency to be desired. This is the exact area where a tight end who boasts a Olsen’s mix of size and speed and can release from the line or slot to really do some damage. We know the talent is there to put up big receiving numbers, as evidenced by his 58-yard touchdown catch in the 2010 divisional round and 39-yard score against the Dallas Cowboys that same year.
Heading into 2012, it was mind-boggling that the 6-5, 250-pounder out of Miami as a 2007 first-rounder had only amassed a high season total of 612 yards during his five-year career. Well, after receiving 21 percent of his team’s passing targets in 2012 — tied for second among NFL tight ends with Jimmy Graham — Olsen was able to capitalize on his abilities with career marks of 69 catches and 843 receiving yards.
This could very well continue in 2013, as the team’s biggest wide receiving addition this offseason was Domenik Hixon. While he’s a nice receiver and all, Steve Smith still does not have a worthy No. 2 nor the heir apparent to his role. If Newton keeps improving like he did down the stretch last year, much of that increased production could fall into Olsen’s hands in 2013 — making the 1,000-yard rarefied air very possible.