2021 NFL Draft: Panthers take 3 Alabama stars and Texas QB in latest mock

(Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Ehlinger
(Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Ehlinger /
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Carolina Panthers
(Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports) Jeremy Chinn /

Which way will the Carolina Panthers go in the 2021 NFL Draft?

It’s becoming clearer with every passing week just where the problem areas are for the Carolina Panthers. They have performed well on the whole in the face of what’s been the most difficult schedule in the NFC from a statistical standpoint and although this has them at 3-6, it does give plenty of reasons to be encouraged.

Once the Carolina Panthers gain enough nous to turn close defeats into wins, then a postseason challenge won’t be far behind. There will be more financial resources available providing the salary-cap doesn’t come down too much due to COVID-19 and the 2021 NFL Draft boasts plenty of exciting college recruits who can make a real difference.

The Panthers went all-defense with their 2020 selections, which has seen the likes of Derrick Brown, Jeremy Chinn, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Troy Pride Jr. all gain valuable experience in the competitive setting.

Chinn, in particular, has been a revelation. But Carolina needs more if they want to progress even further next year and beyond.

A four-game losing run has Carolina picking at No. 9 in The Draft Network’s mock machine. But which prospects could they go with, in this particular scenario?

Carolina Panthers
(Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports) Patrick Surtain /

CB. player. 829. Pick Analysis. ALABAMA. PATRICKSURTAIN. 9. Scouting Report

No. 9: Patrick Surtain II – CB (Alabama)

While there will be a serious temptation for the Panthers to select Florida tight end, Kyle Pitts, in the first round, having someone like Patrick Surtain fall into their laps is something they shouldn’t pass up.

Carolina’s cornerback unit has done well overall, but having a potential shutdown prospect when excels in man coverage such as Surtain would completely change the way that defensive coordinator Phil Snow could approach specific schemes.

Surtain might not have the reputation of a Jeff Okudah, but he has all the tools to become a real star at the next level.