Panthers 2021 NFL Draft: Building through the trenches in latest mock

(Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports) Patrick Surtain
(Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports) Patrick Surtain /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Trevor Lawrence /

Could the Carolina Panthers build through the trenches in the 2021 NFL Draft?

It’s been a rollercoaster campaign for the Carolina Panthers that might just come with another top-10 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Matt Rhule’s men are currently sitting at No. 9 following their impressive win at the Washington Football Team, which saw them give up the third overall selection and the chance of getting one of the more elite prospects entering the league this year.

Trevor Lawrence was a pipe-dream that didn’t come to pass for the Carolina Panthers. But a team this talented was never going to be in realistic contention in their pursuit of selecting a generational talent at quarterback who is now set to join the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Lawrence might be the hottest commodity to enter the pro ranks in some time. However, this draft is loaded with talent and is widely regarded as one of the deepest in recent memory.

Let’s take a look at which direction the Panthers might go with their picks, with some top players selected in our latest mock simulation courtesy of The Draft Network’s online machine.

Pick No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Patrick Surtain /

Patrick Surtain – CB (Alabama)

Donte Jackson has really come on since the bye week, which all-but secures his spot at No., 1 on the cornerback depth chart heading into next season. The toe problem that hampered his ability to make a lasting contribution now seems to be behind him and there is a lot to like about his chances of becoming a shutdown corner in 2021.

That said, the Panthers still need some additional help in this area of the field. Rasul Douglas and Corn Elder are both looking for new deals this spring, with the jury still out on rookie duo Troy Pride Jr. and Stantley Thomas-Oliver.

Patrick Surtain has all the making of a stud at the next level. The Alabama standout is a tremendous prospect who might go much higher than No. 9, but Carolina shouldn’t hesitate to take him in this spot despite the obvious temptation to bring tight end Kyle Pitts to the organization.