Here is another addition to our “32 Mocks in 32 Days,” series. This time we’re diving into an NFL mock draft for the Carolina Panthers. The team finished with a 5-11 record but they have plenty to be excited about. With a ton of young talent, this franchise is on its way to going back to the playoffs in a couple of years.
Matt Rhule and the front office were smart in last year’s draft, as they selected defensive players throughout. They have a young defensive core that played better than most people give them credit for. Jeremy Chinn played as a solid rookie safety, and Yetur Gross-Matos showed improvements as well. However, the standout rookie was Derrick Brown, as he’s serving as the anchor to this Panthers defense.
The offense isn’t in that bad of shape either. The front office recently traded for Sam Darnold with the New York Jets. Darnold has the potential to right his career on a new team. Christian McCaffrey will still be the workhorse for this offense, while DJ Moore and Robby Anderson provide legitimate speed in the wide receiver position.
As a whole, Carolina just needs to continue building upon what they already have. The offensive line should still be considered a need, as the front office hasn’t quite solidified that group at all. If they expect Darnold to elevate his game, they have to ensure the pass protection to help the team improve.
Outside of that, acquiring youth and depth is the key to the Panthers’ future success. Rather than focusing on needs, Carolina should consider drafting the best available player with each selection. With that said, here is the Carolina Panthers NFL mock draft.
Carolina Panthers 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Day One
1.08 | Micah Parsons | LB | Penn State
Micah Parsons enters the draft as the best linebacker available. There seems to be a couple of red flags regarding his weight, but besides that, Parsons has everything a team would want in a middle linebacker. He opted out of 2020, but his stats in 2019 were so good it didn’t matter. He finished his sophomore year with 109 total tackles (14 for a loss) and five sacks. He would give the Panthers immediate production. Also lining him up next to Shaq Thompson would give Carolina a sturdy defense for years.
Carolina Panthers 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Day Two
2.39 | Alex Leatherwood | OL | Alabama
Coming out of Alabama, Alex Leatherwood enters the NFL draft as one of the better offensive lineman prospects. He played in over 40 games throughout his collegiate career, making him one of the most consistent left tackles available. He’s a fierce competitor that has everything a coaching staff wants out of a lineman. He’d be competing for a starting role in Carolina right away, making him a solid pick for the Panthers in the second round.
3.73 | Pat Freiermuth | TE | Penn State
The front office made a move in free agency and signed Dan Arnold away from the Arizona Cardinals. He has the potential to finally become a breakout candidate next year, but this offense could still use some help in the tight end position. Pat Freiermuth is as good as it gets for a tight end prospect.
Kyle Pitts has taken all of the spotlights in the position, but Freiermuth has the potential to be a consistent starter in the future. Due to Freiermuth’s ability to get in the trenches and block, he could have an immediate role in the offense until he develops into a pass catcher.
Carolina Panthers 2021 NFL Mock Draft: Day Three
4.113 | Tamorrian Terry | WR | Florida State
Tamorrian Terry enters the draft as a big-bodied receiver that could turn into a red zone target for Darnold down the road. His best season while at Florida State was in 2019. He had a down year this past season, but he has the tools to be a solid receiver in the NFL. He might not be a day one starter, but Terry provides the Panthers receiving core with solid depth.
5.151 | Kellen Mond | QB | Texas A&M
The front office made a move to acquire a new quarterback, but they might not be done just yet. Darnold is young, but he’s been in the league for three years now and has never proven he can be a starter in this league. Drafting Kellen Mond would be a brilliant acquisition, as it would bring competition into the quarterback room. If Darnold doesn’t pan out, Kellen Mond could be a nice insurance pick, as it’s likely Teddy Bridgewater is out of town sooner, rather than later.
6.193 | Royce Newman | OL | Ole’ Miss
Royce Newman comes into the draft as an underrated offensive lineman. He’s been a versatile tool for Ole’ Miss, as he’s played left guard and right tackle for the Rebels. Newman likely won’t be a starter right away, but he’d be a great depth piece to add to the trenches.
6.222 | Whop Philyor | WR | Indiana
The final pick of this Carolina Panthers NFL mock draft, I have the front office going with another wide receiver. Whop Philyor has been a solid receiver at Indiana the last two years. He broke 1,000 receiving yards his junior year and was on pace for nearly 900 receiving yards for his senior year. He’s someone that has shown progression when he’s given the opportunity. Philyor could be a monster in special teams until he develops into a role on the offense.
Carolina Panthers 2021 NFL Mock Draft Recap
In this mock draft, Carolina secures one of the top defensive prospects in the first round, potentially solidifying their defense for years. From there, the team acquires depth all around the board to help improve the roster. The Panthers might not be ready to regain control of the NFC South, but if they walk away from stacking their roster like this, they will be well on their way.
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