The 2021 NFL Draft is exactly one week away and we figured that it would be a good time to check out what others are thinking/saying about what they believe the Carolina Panthers will do with the 8th overall pick. Below are four mock drafts that have Carolina going in several different directions. Some seem realistic, while others seem like a bit of a longshot.
Let's have at it!
Trade: No. 8 to New England
Pick: LB Micah Parsons (Penn State)
Analysis: I've been extremely high on Micah Parsons since 2019 and although the Panthers have bigger needs, I don't mind this pick at all. Again, drafting one of the top two offensive tackles would be my top priority and if that falls through, I'd trade back. However, Parsons would be another young star on the defense that the Panthers can build around. He's super athletic, rangy, and has everything you want in a linebacker. He's going to be a special player.
Pick: QB Justin Fields (Ohio State)
Analysis: I understand that GM Scott Fitterer said that trading for Sam Darnold doesn't preclude them from taking a quarterback but he didn't say necessarily in the first round. Could they take one in the back half of the draft? Absolutely. I just don't see them giving up three picks for Darnold if they didn't believe he could be the long-term answer. Drafting Fields shows that you don't trust Darnold and you just hope that one of the two makes it work.
Pick: OT Rashawn Slater (Northwestern)
Analysis: This is the exact route I would go as I mentioned earlier. Rashawn Slater and Penei Sewell (Oregon) are going to be solid starters in the NFL over the next 10-12 years. Slater is probably the more polished lineman of the two and will be able to slide into that starting spot immediately. Not to mention, offensive tackle is a position of need for Carolina. Left tackle has been a rotating door in Charlotte since Jordan Gross retired following the 2013 season.
Trade: No. 8 to New Orleans
Pick: CB Greg Newsome II (Northwestern)
Analysis: Is this real? I mean, no disrespect to Newsome because he is a tremendous player but there's no way Carolina would ever entertain a trade with the Saints that would allow them to take their quarterback of the future and slide all the way down to the bottom of the draft at No. 28. Even if Carolina does trade back, they won't want to fall that far down the 1st round unless they receive an overwhelming offer that's too hard to pass up. I don't see this one happening - zero chance.
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