The Panthers finished the 2020 season with a disappointing 5-11 record in head coach Matt Rhule’s first season. They traded for former Jets quarterback Sam Darnold earlier this month and can use the draft to acquire more targets for him. Carolina holds the No. 8 overall pick — likely not high enough to select highly touted Kyle Pitts, but they would benefit from adding a tight end before the draft concludes.
The draft also provides a chance to bolster Darnold’s offensive line, especially a tackle since Russell Okung was not re-signed. The Jets struggled to protect Darnold, who was sacked 35 times in 2020. An improved offensive line would also be an asset for Christian McCaffery. When healthy, McCaffery is one of the best running backs in the NFL. But this year, he was sidelined for 13 games with various ankle, shoulder and thigh injuries. The Panthers struggled without him, and any reprieve provided by backup Mike Davis vanished when Davis signed with Atlanta.
Rhule, entering his second season alongside new general manager Scott Fitterer, will also need to improve the secondary before the 2021 season. Safety Tre Boston was released, and cornerback Rasul Douglas departed in free agency. Troy Pride Jr., a 2020 draft selection, started eight games at corner, and fellow 2020 draft pick Stantley Thomas-Oliver III could contribute. But Carolina could benefit from more depth at the position and could use one of their five Saturday picks to get it.
Click here for the entire 2021 NFL Draft order and keep reading to see who the Panthers take in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Carolina Panthers 2021 Draft Picks:
- Round 1, pick 8 – Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
- Round 2, pick 59 (from CLE) – Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, LSU
- Round 3, pick 70 (from PHI) – Brady Christensen, OT, BYU
- Round 4: No. 126 (from TEN) – Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State
- Round 5: No. 158 (from From NE through HOU) – Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa
- Round 5: No. 166 (from TEN) – Keith Taylor, CB, Washington
- Round 6, pick 193 – Deonte Brown, OG, Alabama
- Round 6, pick 204 (from CHI) – Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina
- Round 6, pick 222 – Thomas Fletcher, LS, Alabama
- Round 7: No. 232 – Phil Hoskins, DT, Kentucky
Check out draft picks for other teams in the NFC South