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
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) William Bradley-King /

Round 6 (Pick No. 195)

Tre’ McKitty – TE (Georgia)

The Carolina Panthers are in desperate need of better options at the tight end position after Ian Thomas failed to prove he was the man to replace Greg Olsen long term. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a complete overhaul at the position in free agency with a veteran and someone with a dynamic skill set such as Tre’ McKitty also being brought in during the later rounds.

McKitty was one of the Senior Bowl’s stars and drew rave reviews for his efforts during practice. He is physically dominant and represents a matchup nightmare for slot cornerbacks and outside linebackers.

Round 6 (Pick No. 208)

Brady Breeze – S (Oregon)

The Panthers recently dut ties with Tre Boston and they might do the same with Juston Burris by the time free agency begins given the potential savings involved. This would undoubtedly see Jeremy Chinn move to his preferred position of safety, but getting a young developmental project on the backend would be welcome considering how little there is on the depth chart.

Brady Breeze has enough instincts and athleticism to ensure he hears his name called in the later rounds. His tackling does need some work once the Oregon prospect gets to the pros. But there is a lot to work with from a potential standpoint.

Round 6 (Pick No. 222)

William Bradley-King – DE/OLB (Baylor)

Getting another player to generate pressure in the wake of Yetur Gross-Matos going to the Houston Texans as part of the Deshaun Watson deal is imperative. William Bradley-King is a violent edge rusher who has some outstanding physical traits to call upon and if Matt Rhule wants to dig a little deeper into the player’s potential, he can give his old employers at Baylor a call for the inside scoop.

Parting ways with Gross-Matos won’t be an easy decision for the Panthers. But when the prize is Watson, it might just be with it in the long run.

Round 6 (Pick No. 223)

Josh Ball – OT (Marshall)

There might be some red flags for Carolina to investigate where Josh Ball is concerned following his removal from the Florida State program. But his exceptional length and overall potential to get better once he adds more muscle mass would be hard to turn down here.

The Carolina Panthers are looking for a long-term starter at left tackle with Russell Okung heading into free agency and Greg Little just not working out. It might be worth bringing in a proven veteran to allow Watson the best possible chance of hitting the ground running, but the 6-foot-8 Ball has all the tools needed to be inserted into the lineup over time providing he checks out well during the evaluation process.