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
(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) Deshaun Watson /

Carolina Panthers trade for Deshaun Watson

Giving up so many first-round picks for one player is not a normal scenario in the NFL. It’s a different story in the NBA, where selections are traded like confetti, but considering the prize at the end of it all is Deshaun Watson, it might just be worth it in this instance.

There appears to be a growing reluctance from some sections of the Carolina Panthers’ fanbase to give up a lot of draft capital, which is understandable considering how much success the team has had with their top-end picks over the last few years. However, this might have blinkered them into believing that every first-rounder is going to be a hit, which simply isn’t the case.

Granted, Carolina’s opening draft selections have been sensational of late.

  • 2020 – Derrick Brown
  • 2019 – Brian Burns
  • 2018 – D.J. Moore
  • 2017 – Christian McCaffrey

Now, you wouldn’t want to give up all that for Watson.

However, go back a little further and things don’t look as fruitful.

  • 2016 – Vernon Butler
  • 2015 – Shaq Thompson
  • 2014 – Kelvin Benjamin
  • 2013 – Star Lotulelei

Anyone who wouldn’t sacrifice those picks for Watson in hindsight is kidding themselves.

The point is, first-rounders aren’t a sure thing despite Carolina’s recent ability to pick studs on both sides of the ball. They’d be giving up some talent too, with Yetur Gross-Matos, Shaq Thompson, and a couple of extra picks all going to the Houston Texans in this particular scenario.

Hopefully, the Panthers won’t be picking anywhere near the top-10 again if they had Watson under center. His arrival would see veteran players gravitate towards the franchise at a time when it will be cheap to acquire them in the current financial climate. So even though this is a tremendous sacrifice, a player this talented would shift the landscape from the moment he joined the organization.