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
(Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports) Penei Sewell /

Penei Sewell – OT (Oregon)

Now that the Carolina Panthers have their quarterback in place, the next thing will be to solve their problem at left tackle. Russell Okung hasn’t been brought back after a frustrating season due to injury, with Cam Erving unlikely to provide a solid presence on the edge after arriving in free agency.

If Penei Sewell is still around when Carolina is on the clock, they should take about two seconds to make their decision. The Oregon stud is arguably the best offensive lineman to enter the NFL in quite some time and considering he’s still just 20-years-old, the potential for further improvement is undeniable.

Putting a potentially elite prospect opposite Taylor Moton would give the Panthers and Sam Darnold a bookend presence that could become one of the NFL’s best in no time at all.

Patrick Surtain – CB (Alabama)

Another area where the Panthers need substantial reinforcements in the coming weeks is at cornerback. Their options are slim behind the No. 1 option Donte Jackson and acquiring Darnold might see them utilize their first-rounder on a tremendous prospect such as Patrick Surtain.

The Alabama corner is an outstanding player who shut down one side of the field for the Crimson Tide during their convincing National Championship success in 2020. Surtain seems to have all the tools needed to make a real go of things in a professional environment and there should be plenty of talented edge protectors available in Round 2 for the Panthers.

Micah Parsons – LB (Penn State)

If Scott Fitterer wants to select the best player available at No. 8, then someone like Micah Parsons would be high on the shortlist. The Penn State linebacker is a ferocious presence at the second level who can make things happen defensively on any given down, which is something Carolina lacked in 2020 following the retirement of Luke Kuechly.

Parsons has the ability to play any linebacker position thanks to his elite athleticism and ability to generate pressure in opposing backfields. The Panthers did sign Denzel Perryman in free agency, but this is a long-term solution and one that could reap instant rewards.