What will the Carolina Panthers do with the #8 pick in this year’s draft? We’re hours from finding out the answer to that question. Here’s what the Carolina Blitz staff think the Panthers will do.
The Carolina Panthers at No. 8 are one of the most interesting teams in the top 10 ahead of tomorrow’s NFL Draft. Before the signing of Sam Darnold, the Panthers were assumed to pick a quarterback.
Now that Carolina seems to be set on Darnold being under center in 2021, the probability of them picking a Quarterback is less likely. So what they can do? What should they do? Here are some likely picks and scenarios.
If the Panthers are set on Darnold being their Quarterback, they wouldn’t go wrong with picking a left tackle. They traded for Russell Okung in an attempt to solidify the position, but he wasn’t the answer and not on an active roster. If the Panthers go with a left tackle to pair with Taylor Morton, look for them to pick Oregon’s Penei Sewell or Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater.
Defensively, Carolina could solidify the secondary and select a corner to pair with Donte Jackson and Jeremy Chinn. If Carolina rolls with defense, Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II and Florida State’s Asante Samuel, Jr. would be solid fits.
As much as I would like for the Panthers to select 330 pound offensive line tackle Penei Sewell, he’s guaranteed to be off the board by pick 8. Arguably the best tackle in this draft, it’s reported multiple teams have him in their top 3 overall players – regardless of position. The Panthers need protection and his agility, containment within the trenches and foot speed for swift pass rushers certainly fills the void.
I think it’s highly likely the Panthers trade the 8th overall pick for more draft capital later in the first round and a potential second rounder.
Panther needs – Offensive Line, Defensive Back, Tight End, Quarterback
Note – The Panthers have a 5th year option on new addition Sam Darnold, which holds a cap hit of 18 million next season. If Darnold doesn’t produce this season, the Panthers could select a QB later in the draft for security. Justin Fields is surprisingly slipping down “Big Boards” due to organizations clearly just hating on a brother. The Panthers attended both Fields’ Pro-days, which is an indicator they’re looking for a viable option outside of Darnold later in the draft.
Scott Fitterer’s first offseason as GM has gone better than most could have imagined, with a good mixture of proven free agents and guys coming in with a chip on their shoulder and a lot to prove. With that being said, the Panthers are in prime position to select a key player at the eighth spot. I don’t see the point in trading back for picks, especially after receiving an additional pick (yes I know it was just a sixth round) after dumping Bridgewater yesterday. Carolina should go with the best player available. It’s almost a can’t go wrong pick.
With their off-season moves, that Panthers have placed themselves in a VERY flexible position heading into tonight’s NFL Draft. Based on my observations, Scott Fitterer is a very cunning GM. The wheels are always turning. He’s always trying to find a way to make a deal to make the team better. IF the Panthers stay put at eight, they will pick the best player available. That means, if Justin Fields is on the board (and he very well may be), I expect Carolina will select him…unless a desperate team comes to the table with a God Father-like offer. Trey Lance also isn’t out of the question.
If the Panthers, who have corner, tackle and receiver as the most positions on their draft board, see one of their top players slipping, trading back is highly likely.
The bottom line is, nothing is certain and nothing is off the table. Tonight should be really interesting.