Panthers 2021 NFL mock draft: The Deshaun Watson edition

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Deshaun Watson
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Deshaun Watson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Deshaun Watson /

Which way would the Carolina Panthers go with their 2021 NFL Draft selections if they managed to pull off a bombshell trade for Deshaun Watson?

The Carolina Panthers are going to make their move for Deshaun Watson in the coming weeks, make no mistake about that. The Houston Texans are stuck between a rock and a hard place regarding their elite quarterback, who remains steadfast in his pursuit of a move away from the organization after becoming increasingly disenchanted with its direction.

Whether the Panthers have enough in their locker to tempt the Texans into making a deal is another matter entirely. The writing appears to be on the wall for Teddy Bridgewater after an inconsistent first year under center and Carolina is willing to “pay any price” to bring Watson back to an area where he starred in college at Clemson, according to a recent report.

This would send shockwaves across the league and providing it doesn’t compromise other positional groups too much, it could see them become realistic postseason challengers in 2021. Players like Watson don’t become available in their prime too often and although Houston isn’t taking calls at the present time, they might have a change of heart if interested parties start looking at other options and prevent them from holding a bidding war.

New general manager Scott Fitterer would be making the biggest of statements by risking it all for Watson. It is set to be a franchise-altering move if the Panthers can pull it off and might even raise expectations to a level not seen since the days of prime Cam Newton in the mid-2010s.

Using the Pro Football Focus mock draft simulator, we took a look at which way Carolina could go with their picks – including trading down – if they managed to secure Watson’s services.