With the acquisition of QB Sam Darnold, the Carolina Panthers took care of their biggest need heading into the 2021 season. Through free agent signings, Carolina also added multiple pieces to the offensive line, linebacking unit, and secondary which were also major concerns. By making these moves, it allows Panthers GM Scott Fitterer to be more flexible in the draft and that includes trading back and accumulating more picks.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Panthers have already had conversations with other teams about doing so, which comes as no surprise. Fitterer, who worked with John Schneider in Seattle, had a history of trading back in the draft and getting multiple picks in return. If there was ever a year to trade down, this would be it. The 2021 draft class is top-heavy at the quarterback position and there is a slew of teams that are looking for their QB of the future. Aside from the teams at the top of the draft, there are also a few teams that sit in the middle of the draft that could make a move up to get a Justin Fields, a Trey Lance, or even a Mac Jones. If any of those three are still on the board when the Panthers are on the clock, you can almost guarantee that Carolina will be fielding calls from a handful of teams about moving up.
Depending on how far down the 1st round Carolina would move in a trade, they could receive an additional 1st round pick in return and then some. There are many reasons as to why they should trade back, but it also would make sense to go ahead and take the best player available at No. 8. OT Penei Sewell (Oregon), OT Rashawn Slater (Northwestern), TE Kyle Pitts, (Florida), WR Ja'Marr Chase (LSU), and CB Patrick Surtain II (Alabama) are all intriguing prospects that would be hard for the Panthers to pass up on.
Regardless of what Carolina decides to do, they've put themselves in a pretty good position to do whatever they want in the draft thanks to a strong offseason thus far. They don't need to reach for a quarterback or any other position. Take the best player available at No. 8 or trade back and receive multiple picks in return. It's a win-win situation.
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