Friday afternoon, Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network released his first mock draft of the offseason. With the 8th pick, Jeremiah has the Panthers selecting Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell.
Sewell is considered one of, if not the best, offensive lineman in this year's draft class. Clearly, the Panthers need to address their offensive line and with Russell Okung being a free agent, I'm not so sure the Panthers will be interested in bringing him back. Okung is a quality veteran but he only played in five games this season due to a calf injury and he is 32 years old. Carolina also has to re-sign starting right tackle Taylor Moton who just completed the final year of his rookie contract. If Carolina is unable to re-sign Moton, the offensive line becomes a major priority in the draft.
Jeremiah also has Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields going right in front of the Panthers to the Detroit Lions at No. 7. Panthers' GM Scott Fitterer stated in his introductory press conference that he was going to be aggressive and will "be in on all deals." Should Carolina like what they see out of Fields or BYU QB Zach Wilson, there's a strong possibility that they make an effort to move up.
If the Panthers stay at No. 8, the only quarterback that will be available that's worthy of a top 10 pick is North Dakota State's, Trey Lance. To me, Sewell is not only the better player but the more finished product. He is going to be able to come right in and make an impact from day one. Lance will need some time to sit and develop and likely won't see much playing time until year two of his career. I've been a big proponent of always drafting the best player available instead of drafting based on need. There's no reason to take a quarterback at No. 8 just to take one. I like Sewell a lot and honestly, I'd be shocked if he fell to the Panthers. The only way I see the Panthers taking a quarterback at eight is if Fields or Wilson somehow slip that far. If the Panthers are picking at eight, there's a good chance that Penei Sewell or Northwestern OL Rashawn Slater is the selection.
You can follow us for future coverage by clicking "Follow" on the top right-hand corner of the page. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook & Twitter:
Facebook - @PanthersOnSI