10 draft options for the Panthers at No. 8 after Sam Darnold trade

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /

What options are now available for the Carolina Panthers at No. 8 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft following their decision to trade for Sam Darnold?

Acquiring Sam Darnold from the New York Jets could be a shrewd bit of business by the Carolina Panthers if the quarterback gets a new lease of life in a different environment. It’s clear that the former first-round pick was never going to turn things around at MetLife Stadium after being yet another victim of Adam Gase’s dismal run as head coach, with the new regime now looking in the direction of BYU signal-caller Zach Wilson at No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.

There are some things that need to be sorted out following Darnold’s arrival. Most notably, just what the Panthers are going to do with Teddy Bridgewater after a less than stellar 2020 campaign that left Carolina with no option other than to look at viable alternatives.

However, landing Darnold now gives them additional options in the draft at No. 8. The chances of the Panthers securing one of the top quarterback prospects diminished significantly when the San Francisco 49ers moved up to No. 3, and it was clear after looking at Justin Fields during his pro day that he was never going to fall into their laps.

Getting the right pieces around Darnold will be crucial to his success. Here are 10 options for the Panthers from the No. 8 overall selection now they have a viable alternative to Bridgewater.

Option No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule /

Carolina Panthers trade down from No. 8

General manager Scott Fitterer indicated he would like more picks where the Carolina Panthers are concerned, which means they might be looking for a trade back at some stage during the 2021 NFL Draft after giving up three selections to get Sam Darnold from the Jets.

Much will depend on how the quarterback situation plays out in front of them. But if someone like Mac Jones is still available when Carolina is on the clock, it might result in an interested party making them an offer that can sway them.

This would give Fitterer the additional picks he wants moving forward and the Panthers should still be able to take a talented prospect in a position of need in the process.