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APC Community Mock Draft: What will the Panthers do with pick #8?

After trading for Sam Darnold, the Panthers could go in multiple different directions with their first-round pick. 

NFL: New York Jets at New England Patriots Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the last pick on day 4 of the APC Community Mock Draft! At #7, the Lions opted to go WR, picking DeVonta Smith out of Alabama. The Heisman trophy winner will be charged with leading a depleted receiving corps in Detroit. While there are concerns about his frame holding up in the NFL, Smith is a technician who thrives after the catch, making him a perfect fit for Jared Goff.

Up next is the Panthers with the 8th pick. With Darnold becoming the starter in Carolina, this season and next will be all about determining if he is their future, and surrounding him with a good supporting cast on both sides of the ball. Before we dive into the prospects, let’s recap the draft so far.

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
  2. New York Jets - Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
  3. San Francisco 49ers - Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
  4. Atlanta Falcons - Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
  5. Cincinnati Bengals - Penei Sewell, OL, Oregon
  6. Miami Dolphins - Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
  7. Detroit Lions - DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Here are the Panthers’ top options at #8 as we see them:

Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

The other part of the Crimson Tide’s terrifying receiver tandem in 2020 is Waddle, who had a tremendous freshman year in 2018. He was actually the Tide’s second-leading receiver that year, behind Jerry Jeudy and ahead of DeVonta Smith and Henry Ruggs. He took a step back to option number 4 in 2019, but was an exceptional deep threat again in 2020 before a broken ankle sat him down for the second half of the season. He did not work out at Alabama’s Pro Day, but he has blistering speed that should make him an elite deep threat on day one.

Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

One of the most athletic tackle prospects in NFL history, Slater comes out of Northwestern as a three-year starter with experience on both sides of the line. Fans of Slater like to point to game tape from 2019, when he largely shut down Ohio State’s Chase Young (the #2 pick in last year’s draft). There’s no question he has all the athleticism you could look for in a top tackle prospect, with a RAS of 9.70 and elite numbers at every Pro Day test; he’s just a little on the smaller side at just 6-foot-4-¼ and 304 pounds, and that could have some teams shying away from him a bit.

Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State

One of the highest-profile opt-outs from the 2020 season, Parsons could well be the first defensive player off the board. He was a wrecking ball in his only season as a starter in 2019, with over 100 tackles, 14 TFLs, 5 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles. Penn State’s Pro Day measurements (which come on a notoriously fast track) had him timed at an unbelievable 4.36 in the 40 — and that was at 6-foot-3 and 246 pounds. Even if that speed is exaggerated, Parsons’ movement abilities will make him a dangerous weapon at the second level. Perhaps the only questions NFL teams may have about Parsons center around his character, with some concerns stemming from a fight with a teammate in 2018.


With the 8th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select…

Poll

Who will the Panthers select with the 8th pick?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Jaylen Waddle
    (80 votes)
  • 55%
    Rashawn Slater
    (205 votes)
  • 22%
    Micah Parsons
    (85 votes)
370 votes total Vote Now

This pick could very well come down to whether the Panthers want to follow their board (Parsons) or go with offensive help to better evaluate Sam Darnold. It’s a bit of a mystery right now, and there will certainly be lots of chatter about the pick over the next few weeks. Be sure to vote below and on Twitter @acmepackingco. Check back tomorrow as we rundown the Broncos’ options at pick 9 (11 AM EST) and the Cowboys’ prospects at pick 10 (4 PM EST).