5 realistic targets for the Panthers at No. 8 in the 2021 NFL Draft

(Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images) Trey Lance
(Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images) Trey Lance /
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Carolina Panthers
(Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports) Devonta Smith /

Devonta Smith – WR (Alabama)

The Carolina Panthers are facing a real predicament where Curtis Samuel is concerned. He is out of contract in the coming months and although they’d love to keep him around, the financial implications might be too steep considering the amount of interest the wide receiver is expected to generate on the free-agent market.

This might not be a top need for the Panthers, especially with bigger holes elsewhere. But Samuel is going to take a great deal of replacing if he decides to take his chances elsewhere after his exceptional production in 2020.

One way they could solve this problem is by drafting Devonta Smith. The Alabama sensation lit up their college football playoff semi-final against Notre Dame with the sort of exciting plays that are sure to see him taken in the top-10 by an NFL team.

Smith is the latest in a long line of wideouts from the Crimson Tide who could light up the professional ranks. In just 12 games this season, he’s amassed 105 receptions, 1,641 receiving yards, 20 touchdowns, and a yards-per-catch average of 15.6.

He has gone over 1,000 yards receiving in two straight years and if Carolina becomes truly enamored with Smith during their assessment process, then it might just come with a bombshell pick that is way out of the left field.