Todd McShay Predicts the Panthers Make a Trade in Latest Mock Draft

What does Todd McShay forecast the Carolina Panthers to do ahead of April's NFL Draft?
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It goes without saying at this point that the quarterback room in Carolina will inevitably be addressed this offseason. Todd McShay is predicting the Carolina Panthers make a splash in the 2021 NFL draft by trading up five spots with the Miami Dolphins to secure their quarterback of the future in Justin Fields. 

This 2021 draft class is well-known for its depth at quarterback and we could very well see three out of the first four picks go to that position. Carolina would be playing a somewhat risky game if they let the draft fall to them at 8 and have a specific QB in mind. If Fields is your guy (and he's still available at 3) you certainly make that trade ahead of Atlanta who looks to be in the quarterback market as well. McShay has Lawrence and Wilson at picks no. 1 and 2 respectively, as do many other experts. 

The biggest question Carolina would face if the situation occurs would be when does Fields take the reigns as the starter. Would the team take the route of thrusting him into the starting role immediately (trade/release Bridgewater presumably) or do they allow him to take over backup duties for a season and learn the offense? Nevertheless, I believe a brand new GM, second-year head coach, and relatively new owner all look to make this team their own and make a big splash; and trading up to grab a top prospect would fit that criteria. The one downside trading up in the early first round would be the picks the Panthers would have to give up to get there, which could forfeit over some much-needed depth in key positions like the offensive line or secondary. However, Fields in a Panthers uniform in 2021 brings a lot of optimism to the team and fans.