The 2020 NFL season is officially in the books with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being crowned Super Bowl champions. Now it's time to look ahead to what will surely be a busy offseason. The Carolina Panthers will have their hands full trying to get on the same level as the division rival Buccaneers. We completed the first of many offseason mock drafts using Pro Football Focus' mock draft simulator.
Here are the results:
No. 8: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
The big three QB's Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Justin Fields were all off the board before we got our first pick. Trey Lance was definitely in consideration here but we ultimately decided against it because of his lack of experience against high-level college talent. Patrick Surtain II can step in immediately and cut the field in half for the Panthers' defense. His 6-foot-2 frame gives him the size and length to compete with the bigger receivers that Carolina struggled to defend last year. He routinely shut down the top receivers in the SEC and given some time he will do the same in the NFL. Every skill that he possesses will translate to the pro game.
No. 40: Liam Eichenberg, T, Notre Dame
Whoever the Panthers have starting at quarterback in 2021 is going to need some added protection. Liam Eichenberg was the best offensive lineman available here. The 6-foot-6, 300-pounder lined up at left tackle for the Fighting Irish and did a great job protecting the QB's blindside. He is not the most athletic lineman. He is more of an old school tackle but he is definitely capable of holding his own against edge rushers.
No. 72: Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami
If Brevin Jordan falls to the Panthers in the third round I think he is a no-brainer. He is arguable every bit as athletic as Kyle Pitts who is projected to go in the top 15 overall. The only real question about his game is his height. At 6-foot-3, he is significantly shorter than the best NFL TE's. Offensive coordinator Joe Brady consistently found ways to get his tight ends involved at LSU. If Jordan comes to Carolina, then Brady will again be able to utilize the position.
No. 113: Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson
Yet another weapon for Joe Brady and the offense. It seems more and more likely that the Panthers will be unable to retain Curtis Samuel and Amari Rodgers could be the perfect replacement. Rodgers can play in the slot as well as outside. He is a tough runner with the ball in his hands and can rack up yards after the catch. He can excel in the short passing game which is Carolina's bread and butter.
No. 153: Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas
This pick will probably trigger some pushback but I'm not sure it should. Sam Ehlinger has too much upside to pass up in the fifth round. He undoubtedly has some holes in his game but I like what I see on tape. He reminds me of Jalen Hurts last year. He's one of those interesting prospects that will need some time to develop but could turn out to be a steal if he takes training camp seriously and improves.
No. 185, Chauncey Golston, EDGE, Iowa
Chauncey Golston had 12 sacks in his career at Iowa. The Panthers are in need of a pass-rusher opposite Brian Burns. Derrick Brown was decent at applying pressure up the middle but the team needs another threat off of the edge. Golston has the ability to be that guy.
No. 194, Thayer Munford, T, Ohio State
Thayer Munford is somewhat of a late bloomer that still has a lot of room to improve. He's one of those lineman that can look awkward at times when he is matched up with a superior pass-rusher. He has the potential to be a starting lineman in the NFL and that is enough to take a late-round flyer on him.
No. 222, Tarron Jackson, EDGE, Coastal Carolina
We decided to stay in-state and take Tarron Jackson from Coastal Carolina with our last pick. As aforementioned, Carolina needs more pass-rushers than just Brian Burns. Jackson had 8.5 sacks last season and that wasn't even his best season. He had 10 in his junior year. The only real question mark is if he can apply pressure when he faces better offensive lineman. Coastal doesn't exactly play the toughest competition in college football. Still, Jackson has the necessary tools to succeed in the NFL.
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