Panthers 2021 Draft: Micah Parsons heads star-studded bye week mock

(Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports) Micah Parsons
(Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports) Micah Parsons /
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Carolina Panthers
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /

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

Plans are already being formed for another crucial offseason period in 2021. The Carolina Panthers have some nice pieces to build a successful contender around. But it is vital they hit the jackpot both during free agency and the NFL Draft to boost their current rebuild under Matt Rhule.

Sitting at 4-8 – which could have been much better had close games gone their way – is pretty much what was expected. It was never going to be easy for the Carolina Panthers after so many changes this offseason and it remains to be seen whether they will be able to generate any positive momentum following their Week 13 bye.

One could argue they would be foolish to do so.

The Panthers have relatively little to play for other than pride with four games remaining. Any success between now and the end of the campaign would hurt a possible high-end draft selection, which might end up doing more harm than good in the long run.

Carolina is currently picking at No. 7 overall – which is where they took defensive tackle, Derrick Brown, out of Auburn earlier this year – and we used The Draft Network’s mock machine to predict which way they could possibly go.

Pick No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports) Micah Parsons /

Micah Parsons – LB (Penn State)

There might be a temptation for the Panthers to draft a potential franchise quarterback, elite offensive lineman, or shutdown cornerback at this position thanks to the impressive recent performances of Jermaine Carter. But with Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Penei Sewell, and Patrick Surtain off the board, Micah Parsons is the obvious choice.

The Penn State sensation opted out of the 2020 campaign due to COVID-19 health concerns. But this shouldn’t impact Parsons draft stock whatsoever. He has everything one looks for in a game-changing linebacker the player appears tailor-made to fill the void left by Luke Kuechly on a long-term basis.