4 prospects in play if Carolina Panthers trade down from No. 8

(Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports) Zaven Collins
(Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports) Zaven Collins /
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Carolina Panthers
(Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater /

What prospects might the Carolina Panthers look to target if they trade down from No. 8 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft?

There are a wealth of options available to the Carolina Panthers in the 2021 NFL Draft. They achieved a considerable amount of success with their 2020 selections, which has done their chances of being a postseason contender sooner rather than later no harm at all. But how the organization approaches recruitment in the coming weeks will be crucial in year two of Matt Rhule’s reign where more is expected.

All the talk has been shipping the No. 8 selection to perhaps trade up or even secure a veteran quarterback to replace Teddy Bridgewater this offseason. However, new general manager Scott Fitterer made no secret of his desire to acquire more picks, which would be welcome with finances being cut due to COVID-19 revenue losses.

It would be a huge surprise if the top-three quarterbacks were still on the board by the time Carolina was up. Teams always overreach in the hope of landing a franchise-altering player at the position, which makes trading down to get more in the way of capital a lot more realistic.

Much will depend on how the draft plays out, obviously. But it’s a conversation that needs to be had either way.

With that being said, let’s take a look at four incoming college recruits who’d be in play if Carolina decided to trade back into the teens.

Prospect No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images) Alijah Vera-Tucker /

Alijah Vera-Tucker – OL (USC)

It’s no secret that the Carolina Panthers need a complete makeover of their offensive line. Outside of stud right tackle Taylor Moton, one could make a case for the four remaining starters from this season not being around in 2021. This is projected to be a very deep class across the protection, so the decision-makers should take full advantage of it.

Alijah Vera-Tucker could be a solid pickup if the Panthers do end up trading down. He is a versatile lineman who could operate either at guard or on the edge due to his eye-catching athleticism and the USC prospect represents a significant upgrade on Carolina’s current options who could make a real difference from the moment he steps onto the field.