Panthers full 7-round mock draft after Sam Darnold trade

(Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
2 of 8
Carolina Panthers
(Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports) Penei Sewell /

Round No. 1 (Pick No. 8)

Penei Sewell – OT (Oregon)

With the Carolina Panthers now unlikely to select a quarterback at No. 8 overall, attention now turns to other key positional groups that need an upgrade. Sam Darnold won’t do anything if the protection around him doesn’t improve, so drafting one of the top offensive linemen is the smart way to go here.

As it so happens, the best edge protector entering the league in a generation falls into Carolina’s laps in this scenario. Penei Sewell is the complete package that comes to the NFL with an All-Pro ceiling and although the Panthers might need a bit of luck for him to drop this far, it shouldn’t take them long to pull the trigger.

Sewell has the right blend of size, aggressiveness, and athleticism that is going to be a sure-fire hit at the next level. Much will depend on what the Cincinnati Bengals do at No. 5, but if they decide to reunite Joe Burrow with Ja’Marr Chase and the Miami Dolphins get Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, only the Detroit Lions stand in Carolina’s way if they identify the Oregon stud as a player of interest.

The Panthers can also take Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater here if Sewell is selected beforehand, which wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize by any stretch of the imagination.