How will Scouting Combine changes impact Panthers draft plans?

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Derrick Brown
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Derrick Brown /
1 of 3
Carolina Panthers
(Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /

The Carolina Panthers 2021 NFL Draft plans could be impacted by COVID-19.

This is an immensely important time of year for teams like the Carolina Panthers. Although the playoffs are now in full swing, those on the outside looking in are busy preparing for the 2021 campaign with a view to changing their fortunes on the field.

The Carolina Panthers made a promising impression in year one of Matt Rhule’s rebuild, even though their 5-11 record states otherwise. A young and relatively inexperienced roster remained highly competitive against top opposition, with their record potentially looking far different had quarterback Teddy Bridgewater not been 0-8 on game-winning or tying drives during the season.

With plenty of uncertainty surrounding the salary-cap due to COVID-19 revenue losses, selecting the right sort of individuals via the NFL Draft is going to be more crucial than ever. Carolina’s recent crop of college recruits made an outstanding contribution during their rookie campaigns and something similar next time around would give the team’s hopes of becoming a postseason contender a real shot in the arm.

However, the evaluation process and one of its most notorious events might look far different this year.

According to ESPN’s NFL insider Adam Schefter, league officials will determine whether the 2021 Scouting Combine will take place and in what sort of format this week, with COVID-19 cases continuing to surge across the country.

"“If the combine is pushed back, it could impact the timing of when free agency would begin as well as the dates of the draft.”"

This has the potential to come with some significant ramifications across the league. The last thing Rhule will want is for even more disruption after a first-year full of it. But the circumstances might dictate things could get even worse before they get better.