5 high-value draft picks the Carolina Panthers could steal in 2021

(Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) Kenny Yeboah
(Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) Kenny Yeboah /
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Carolina Panthers
(Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports) Penei Sewell /

Penei Sewell – OT (Oregon)

It might be hard to look at a projected top pick such as Penei Sewell and think high-value. But if the offensive tackle somehow makes it to the Carolina Panthers at No. 8 overall, it is a hard opportunity to pass up.

There is the obvious and pressing temptation for the Panthers to select one of the quarterback prospects entering the next level this year. However, it is becoming increasingly likely that they could all go within the first four selections, which means Carolina needs to trade up to guarantee their signal-caller of choice.

The price for this won’t be cheap. Their win against the Washington Football Team in Week 16 has really complicated their chances of getting a franchise quarterback of the future and they might just decide that the compensation involved isn’t worth it.

It’s hard to envisage a situation where Sewell slips out of the top-five. But stranger things have happened.

The growing stock of Rashawn Slater might even see Sewell become the second tackle taken in this year’s draft. So if the Panthers get a shot at the blindside protector, they should pull the trigger providing all four signal-callers are off the board.

Sewell has the potential to be the best edge blocker entering the league in a generation. He is fleet-footed, his powerful hands, and exceptional mobility that enables him to assist at the second level if given the opportunity.

Carolina hasn’t yet brought in a starting left tackle to replace Russell Okung in free agency. If this continues into the draft, it will be their second-biggest priority.