5 biggest Panthers’ 2021 NFL Draft needs at the midseason point

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Kawann Short
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Kawann Short /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports) Micah Parsons /


Possible Options:

  • Micah Parsons (Penn State)
  • Dylan Moses (Alabama)
  • Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (Notre Dame)
  • Cameron McGrone (Michigan)
  • Jabril Cox (LSU)
  • Chazz Surratt (North Carolina)

Losing someone like Luke Kuechly was never going to be easy for the Carolina Panthers. The legendary linebacker was an inspirational figure both on the field and within the locker room, and although he remains part of the organization as a pro scout, it’s just not the same.

The Panthers brought in Tahir Whitehead to fill the void, but to say his level of play has been disappointing would be something of an understatement. He has failed to provide a commanding presence at the second level that Carolina was hoping for and it would be a huge shock if he started many more games given his current form.

Not having Kuechly in the lineup has also exposed some of Shaq Thompson’s flaws. The former first-round pick made some bold claims about wanting to become Carolina’s defensive lynchpin before competitive action began, which have so far failed to materialize.

Replicating the production that Kuechly gave the Panthers over a prolific eight-year career that resulted in five All-Pro selections is almost impossible. However, what the Panthers can do is use one of their first few picks on a talented young prospect that can become not only a day one starter but a long-term replacement for the perennial Pro Bowler.

Easier said than done, but it’s clear that the current options simply aren’t working out as expected.