2021 NFL Draft: Carolina Panthers 7-round mock

Carolina Panthers, NFL Draft
Panthers mock draft, Matt Rhule

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – DECEMBER 13: Head coach Matt Rhule of the Carolina Panthers holds his notes during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Bank of America Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The Panthers don’t trust Teddy Bridgewater to be their quarterback of the future. Will they secure his replacement in the 2021 NFL Draft?

Every time Matt Rhule speaks about Teddy Bridgewater’s 2020 season it becomes more and more apparent that he is not the Panthers’ quarterback of the future. There is a decent change that he heads into 2021 as the team’s starter of the present, but Carolina is clearly intent on acquiring his long-term successor this offseason.

There’s always a chance the Panthers swing a big trade for someone like Deshaun Watson, or more realistically, Sam Darnold, but the odds favor Carolina using the draft to solve their biggest issue. The team seems destined to nab a new quarterback in Round 1.

Even if they get that decision right, the team’s front office has plenty of work to do in later rounds. Upgrading the defense at edge rusher, cornerback and linebacker should be part of the team’s offseason plans. Upgrading the offensive line would also be advisable no matter who plays quarterback for the Panthers in 2021.

It’s a big draft for Carolina and it starts right away with a quarterback on Day One.

8

Trey Lance

Quarterback North Dakota State

There’s a lot of buzz about the Panthers moving up to nab the quarterback they really covet, but there’s a decent chance Lance falls to them if they stand pat at No. 8. If they do move up, look for Justin Fields to be the object of the team’s affection.

Lance still fits the prototype of what Rhule wants in a starting quarterback. He’s not the most polished prospect in this class, but he’s got a big arm and above-average athleticism for the position. He’d be best-served to sit behind Bridgewater to start the regular season, but at some point, his talent will allow him to win the job.

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