4 prospects Panthers could reach for with their 2021 first-round pick

(Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports) Mac Jones
(Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports) Mac Jones /
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Carolina Panthers
(Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

Which 2021 NFL Draft prospects could the Carolina Panthers reach for at No. 8 overall?

The Carolina Panthers have a multitude of different options available to them at No. 8 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Much will depend on what transpires between now and then both during free agency and with a potential trade for a franchise signal-caller such as Deshaun Watson, but the organization is in a strong position yet again to get their hands on a top college recruit.

Considering the top-three quarterbacks – Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields – should be off the board by the time Carolina is on the clock, they might have to get creative with a view to progressing the franchise. Whether that means trading up to get their preferred target is up for debate. But whichever way they choose to go in a bid to upgrade Teddy Bridgewater‘s inconsistent production, it’s going to have significant ramifications.

Matt Rhule and other staff got a good look at some incoming hopefuls at the 2021 Senior Bowl, which will be invaluable to their decision-making process in the current climate that has forced the cancellation of normal schedules relating to the NFL Scouting Combine.

It is going to be a dramatic few weeks ahead for Carolina’s loyal fanbase, who are getting tired of cheering on a losing team that has steadily regressed ever since their Super Bowl 50 appearance.

With further ado, let’s take a look at four draft prospects that the Panthers could reach for with the No. 8 overall selection.

Prospect No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) Rashawn Slater /

Rashawn Slater – OT (Northwestern)

While the Carolina Panthers undeniably need help on their offensive line, this is a deep class for players across the protection, and taking someone like Rashawn Slater would be considered a reach. This bears more significance when one considers how much the organization has invested in getting a new quarterback during the offseason so far.

However, if Penei Sewell falls out of the top-five and into Carolina laps, it’s a different story.

Slater is an accomplished player himself. But the drop-off between him and the rest of the day two projections isn’t that great and if the Panthers took him with their first-round pick, it would be met with typical derision, to put it mildly.