The Carolina Panthers had a rough season in Matt Rhule’s debut season and the team is looking to have an offseason that helps them bounce back. The Panthers have been all over the headlines this offseason in terms of potentially landing players, but no blockbuster deal as quite come to fruition. Now, their attention will shift to the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Panthers have been vocal about wanting to move on from Teddy Bridgewater and bring in a quarterback who’s more mobile, but the team hasn’t had an opportunity to land a guy this offseason. The Panthers are still in talks with the Houston Texans in hopes of making a deal for Deshaun Watson, but it’s looking unlikely that any deal gets done soon.
It’s looking pretty evident that there will be three consecutive quarterbacks taken off the board to start the NFL Draft this year, which is not great news for the Panthers. The Panthers want to land a mobile quarterback this offseason and the draft is looking like their only hope of doing so.
The Panthers certainly have some options with their No. 8 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and they’ll look to add some talent to their team. Let’s take a look at some prospects the Panthers should consider.
Number One: Kyle Pitts, Tight End, Florida
The Panthers have a major void at the tight end position and they could look to vastly upgrade that position with the addition of Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. Pitts is one of the best tight end prospects we’ve seen come into the draft in years and the Panthers could look to pick him up in the first round if he’s still available.
The key words of picking up Pitts is the phrase “if he’s still available.” Pitts isn’t expected to stick around for a long time in the 2021 NFL Draft and he could easily be a top ten selection. Pitts is very athletic and would instantly be one of the fastest tight ends in the league from the moment he signs his contract.
Carolina’s offense needs some versatility and they could get it with the addition of Pitts. Pitts could also thrive in Carolina, who would likely start him from day one.
Number Two: Justin Fields, Quarterback, Ohio State
The Panthers will likely miss out on the top three quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft Class, but they could still land a talented prospect at the position in Ohio State’s Justin Fields. Fields would give the Panthers the mobility at the quarterback position that the team is looking for and he could thrive in Matt Rhule’s offense.
Fields had a great college career that saw him rank in the top ten in Heisman Trophy voting twice. Fields, in his college career, completed 68.4 percent of his passes, tossed 5,701 passing yards, posted a QB Rating of 178.8, and logged a touchdown to interception ratio of 67 to 9.
He also proved he can run the ball effectively as well, as he ran the rock 260 times in his career for 1,133 rushing yards (4.4 yards per carry) and 19 touchdowns. Fields is the perfect quarterback for the Panthers.
Number Three: Micah Parsons, Linebacker, Penn State
The Panthers have had a major void at the middle linebacker position ever since Luke Kuechly abruptly announced his retirement a couple years ago and the addition of Penn State’s Micah Parsons could help them out a ton.
Parsons is the best linebacker in the 2021 NFL Draft class and if he slides to this pick the Panthers should scoop him up. He could have an immediate impact on the Carolina defense, which struggled in every form and fashion in 2020.
The Panthers need to take some pride in their defense and a great way to start doing that is by addressing the most important position on the defense. Parsons could be the player they pick in this draft that winds up being a franchise player in the years to come.