We are a little over a week away from the start of the 2021 NFL Draft and the Carolina Panthers hold the 8th overall pick after a 5-11 record in 2020. The Panthers could use that pick on an offensive tackle such as Penei Sewell (Oregon) or Rashawn Slater (Northwestern), an offensive playmaker like TE Kyle Pitts (Florida) or LSU WR Ja'Marr Chase, or a lockdown corner such as Patrick Surtain II (Alabama). Those five names are likely high on the Panthers' board and if none of those players are still available when they are on the clock at No. 8, Carolina could consider trading back and acquiring extra picks.
There are a handful of teams that could make a significant move up in the draft to get their quarterback of the future. For Carolina, they need to feel comfortable with the package of picks that they will get in return to make the deal happen. Below are six teams that might consider moving up in the draft to the No. 8 spot.
Total picks: 9
Draft picks: RD1 (9th), RD2 (40th), RD3 (71st), RD4 (115th), RD5 (153rd), RD6 (192nd), RD7 (238th), RD7 (240th), RD7 (255th).
Analysis: The Broncos want Drew Lock to work out but at some point, they may need to come to the realization that it's just not meant to be. If any of the top quarterbacks are still on the board, Denver could swap spots with Carolina but I'm not so sure they would be willing to give up multiple picks to move up just one spot. They'd rather sit tight and hope the Panthers ride with Darnold and give him some help at offensive tackle or another position. If Denver were to move up, they'll try to jump into the top five or six. Not just one spot.
Possibility: Very unlikely.
Total picks: 11
Draft picks: RD1 (12th), RD2 (37th), RD3 (70th), RD3 (85th), RD4 (124th), RD5 (151st), RD6 (190th), RD6 (225th, comp), RD6 (226th, comp), RD7 (235th), RD7 (241st).
Analysis: Much like the Broncos, are the Eagles sold on Jalen Hurts? There wasn't much of a sample size for the new staff to go off of so a lot of it will come down to what they think of the quarterbacks in this class compared to Hurts. Had Hurts excelled in each of his appearances, this probably isn't even a question. Philadelphia has the most draft capital in this year's draft of any team on this list, which gives them the ability to piece together a compelling offer. Chip in one of those 3rd round picks, a sixth and 1st or 2nd in next year's draft, and that could be enough to move to No. 8.
Possibility: Somewhat likely.
New England Patriots
Total picks: 10
Draft picks: RD1 (15th), RD2 (46th), RD3 (97th, comp), RD4 (121st), RD4 (123rd), RD4 (140th, comp) RD5 (178th, comp), RD6 (189th), RD6 (198th), RD7 (244th)
Analysis: The Pats have been abnormally aggressive this offseason and I expect that to continue into the draft. I'm of the belief that New England will make a move up the board regardless but the question will be how high? A 2022 1st rounder paired with this year's 1st and 2nd round picks would be very hard for Carolina to pass up. If Justin Fields is still there and the Patriots haven't made their move up yet, this would be the perfect time to do it. Once again, you never know what Denver and Philadelphia are thinking, and sitting back and waiting isn't necessarily the best idea if they want to select a QB in the 1st round.
Possibility: Most likely.
Washington Football Team
Total picks: 8
Draft picks: RD1 (19th), RD2 (51st), RD3 (74th), RD3 (83rd), RD4 (125th), RD5 (164th), RD7 (246th), RD7 (248th).
Analysis: Ryan Fitzpatrick is obviously not the long-term answer in Washington and neither is former Panther Taylor Heinicke. It would have to take a massive haul for Washington to climb all the way up to No. 8 considering where their current pick sits which would go to Carolina. The Panthers probably don't want to slide too far out of the top 15 of the draft so any offer Washington would make has to be something Carolina can't refuse.
Two other teams that could consider trading up for their QB of the future but might be too far down the first round to strike a deal with Carolina are Chicago and Pittsburgh. I would label both of these as longshots.
Total picks: 8
Draft picks: RD1 (20th), RD2 (52nd), RD3 (84th), RD5 (165th), RD6 (205th), RD6 (209th), RD6 (222nd, comp), RD6 (229th, comp)
Total picks: 8
Draft picks: RD1 (24th), RD2 (55th), RD3 (88th), RD4 (129th), RD4 (141st, comp), RD6 (217th), RD7 (247th), RD7 (256th)
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