After acquiring Sam Darnold from the New York Jets, the Carolina Panthers are reportedly looking to trade down in the 2021 NFL Draft. This is probably a good decision, as the Panthers are more than one player away from competing and could use all the draft picks they can get. The New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers are working on a potential deal, and there should be plenty of good prospects left on the board at the 15th overall pick.
NFL Draft: Who Could the Carolina Panthers Get In A Trade Down?
Sam Darnold never had a fair shot with the New York Jets, and the Carolina Panthers need to give him the best supporting cast possible to maximize his odds of success. D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson are a great receiving duo, but the offensive line could use some more help.
Christian Darrisaw might not be as good of a prospect as someone like Rashawn Slater or Penei Sewell, but he is a starting-caliber tackle that should be able to immediately step in and provide adequate protection. While this pick certainly wouldn’t be the sexiest one in the world, it’s never a bad thing to get better in the trenches and make the quarterback more comfortable.
Jaycee Horn/Patrick Surtain II
The Carolina Panthers have the building blocks for a strong defense, but they are still a few pieces away from bringing that dream to reality. Carolina reportedly could acquire Stephon Gilmore in a potential trade down, but that shouldn’t stop the Panthers from going after one of the top cornerbacks in this class.
In today’s pass-happy league, the best defenses need multiple great cornerbacks in order to slow down the elite offenses of the world. Jaycee Horn is an athletic freak that thrives in man coverage and could easily be the Defensive Rookie of the Year. Pairing him with Stephon Gilmore would create arguably the NFL’s best cornerback duo, but he’d be more than capable of being the top cornerback on any given defense.
Patrick Surtain II doesn’t have as high of a ceiling as Horn, but he’s probably the safest cornerback in this class. A fundamental tactician, the Alabama product should be able to start right out of the gate and give Carolina some solid performances against the great receivers of the NFC South.
Micah Parson is no Luke Keuchly, but he’s the next best thing. The Penn State product has blazing speed and the ability to cover every single inch of the field. He’s great against the pass, which is obviously the most important thing in today’s NFL. He’s big enough to stick with tight ends and fast enough to keep up with running backs, which is a rare gift in today’s NFL. Parsons is also a great blitzer, as his size and speed combine perfectly with his ability to diagnose blocking patterns and exploit the weak point.
Of course, he’s more than capable of holding his own against the run. Parsons attacks gaps as good as anyone in the class and doesn’t miss too many tackles. There are some very serious character concerns regarding the Penn State product, but if the Panthers feel comfortable that these issues won’t resurface at the NFL level, then he’s a no-brainer pick at 15.
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