Carolina has many positions that look promising, from the defensive line to their established top wideouts. However, They’re still multiple holes on the roster to fill, meaning this draft will be important for the future of the entire front office. I believe GM Scott Fitterer has done an excellent job in his first offseason. It’s time to see if he can build on that, having an excellent first draft class can solidify this as one the better in the team’s history, but of course, we’ll all have to wait to see how everything falls into or out of place.
The Panthers should still look to move either QB Teddy Bridgewater or Will Grier for a late-round pick. Sam Darnold has to step up, he has all the tools to succeed in Carolina; I have to think the coaching staff will install some interesting things for him. The Panthers should not be selecting a QB unless the board falls hard at the very top or from the third-later.
Draft Options: Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Kellen Mond, Kyle Trask, Davis Mills, Jamie Newman, Sam Ehlinger
Carolina needs to find a complement to Christian McCaffrey, the All-Pro needs to rest off the field sometimes. When McCaffrey comes off the field, can’t be losing production, have to get a back that can give Carolina a more balanced running attack.
Draft Options: Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Kenneth Gainwell, Chuba Hubbard
The top two in Carolina both looked like established number one wide receivers in 2020; DJ Moore & Robby Anderson combined for 2,289 yards on 161 receptions.
The Panthers then added David Moore in free agency to attempt in replacing the production from Curtis Samuel who left for Washington. Carolina should add a receiver in the later rounds as depth and with DJ & Robby being free agents at the end of 2021.
I’m a big fan of Brandon Zylstra, however, I believe he can be great as a 4th-5th, even 3rd option in the offense.
Draft Options: Amari Rodgers, Dazz Newsome, Cornell Powell, Frank Darby.
If Kyle Pitts from Florida falls to 8.. would be almost impossible to pass on.
Dan Arnold was an underrated move, I believe he was miles ahead of Ian Thomas as I have really grown to dislike the play of the 2018 fourth-round pick. His routes have looked stiff, his blocking leaves a lot to be desired and he doesn’t control the middle of the field well, getting almost lost after his initial route is blocked by the linebackers/safeties in zone coverage sticking to him, sometimes they’re not even running at full speed.
Draft options: Kyle Pitts, Pat Freiermuth, Hunter Long, Kenny Yeboah, Noah Grey
Franchise-tag on Taylor Moton, I believe we should get a long-term deal done during the season.
John Miller and Matt Paradis are alright, reliable starters.
Former second-round pick Greg Little hasn’t worked out at LT, injury and disappointing play have labeled him a bust with Carolina trading up to the top of the round for him. The Panthers can’t rely on OT Trent Scott again, they need to add at least two offensive linemen in this draft, maybe three. Northwestern OL Rashawn Slater looks like the realistic pick at eighth overall with many expecting top Linemen Penei Sewell and TE Kyle Pitts to not be available. I’m interested in adding at least one or two interior offensive linemen from the second to the sixth, I have IOL Kendrick Green out of Illinois in a recent mock draft.
Tackles: Penei Sewell, Rashawn Slater, Christian Darrisaw.
Interior: Wyatt Davis, Creed Humphrey, Kendrick Green, Trey Smith, Aaron Banks.
This group… I’m ecstatic to watch this group terrorize NFL linemen. Trust me, This group is sc-ar-ry! Brian Burns is so explosive and absolutely electric off the edge, his spin-swim move is just unmatched and unblockable, 37 quarterback hits since 2019 that will turn into sacks with experience and the secondary eventually getting better. Carolina added Hasson Reddick for $8 million after recording a productive season for Arizona. Rookie DT Derrick Brown had a promising start to his career, can’t wait to watch him build off that. Big fan of Bravvion Roy, he’ll be great with development. Free-agent pick-ups at DT Morgan Fox and DaQuan Jones should be reliable and play respectably well for the position. Carolina could still add a DT for depth.
Draft Options: Jaylen Twyman, Alim McNeil, Tyler Shelvin.
Denzel Perryman just has to stay on the field and he’s already doing better than Tahir Whitehead. On the field, he can help lead the defense and control the line of scrimmage alongside Shaq Thompson. Jermaine Carter Jr. continues to develop into one of the better coverage linebackers with his skills improving each year, probably from shadowing Ian Thomas in practice, I believe Carter Jr. takes a big leap forward in his play in 2021. However, the Panthers should look to select a linebacker from the fourth or seventh round as depth.
Draft Options: Zaven Collins, Jamin Davis, Jabrill Cox, Pete Warner, Chazz Surratt.
Carolina should have a cornerback as a top need besides the offensive line. I would ideally want to select a corner in the second round.
My top option would be Asante Samuel Jr out of FSU, who I also have in my mock draft.
Donte Jackson is in a contract season, I’m pretty uncertain about his future with the team but all Jackson can do is play well enough to potentially get the extension. AJ Bouye was a decent sign, if he can have a career resurgence in Carolina, he’ll look like a FA steal.
Draft Options: Patrick Surtain, JayCee Horn, Asante Samuel Jr, Eric Stokes, Benjamin St-Juste, Kelvin Joseph, Aaron Robinson, Tyson Campbell.
Juston Burris is not the answer at Free Safety, if Richie Grant from UCF is available in the third round, I’d love to take him. However, with the 73rd selection, I have Ar’Darius Washington from TCU. Washington is one of the better safeties in man coverage as well as playing much bigger than his 5’7 frame, I don’t believe it’ll be much of a limitation and would complement Jeremy Chinn really well.
Draft Options: Jevon Holland, Ar’Darius Washington, Richie Grant, Andre Cisco, Richard LeCounte III, Reed Blankenship.
KR/PR Trenton Cannon needs some real competition here, most likely an UDFA.
Joey Syle will have competition but definitely not a draft pick, Carolina will bring in a UDFA.
Joseph Charlton’s job is probably safe but we should bring in a UDFA to compete as well.
J.J Jansen, unless he retired, don’t think he’s leaving this team or needs to be replaced any time soon.
The 2021 NFL Draft is almost here, I can’t wait!