4 partners if Carolina Panthers decide to trade down from No. 8

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule and Ron Rivera
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Rhule and Ron Rivera /
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Carolina Panthers
(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) Mike Tomlin /

Pittsburgh Steelers

Perhaps a team that could be a surprise trade-up is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger isn’t getting any younger and at 39 years old, the question of whether or not he will retire has become an annual happening.

Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins are the only other quarterbacks on the Steelers’ roster, and any one of the top-five prospects would seemingly be upgrades over them. At pick No. 24 though, Pittsburgh would undoubtedly have to trade up to take one.

Like Washington, the Steelers would have to make quite the enticing offer to convince the Carolina Panthers to drop 16 spots, likely requiring a second or third-rounder this year, in addition to equal or higher compensation again in 2022.

While it’s unlikely that the Panthers will be willing to trade this far back, doing so would indicate that Matt Rhule still views the roster as being a year away from truly competing come January.

Trading back with Pittsburgh would bring in some higher-end draft capital, allowing the front office to continue stocking up on picks, adding to what is already becoming an exciting young Panthers roster. Seeing as though the Buccaneers are likely to run the division in 2021, it would make sense for Carolina to keep on with their “re-tooling,” even if it means giving up a potentially elite prospect.

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Players who could be available around the 24th pick that would be good fits with Carolina include offensive tackle Teven Jenkins as well as linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and defensive tackle Christian Barmore. The Steelers are perhaps the least likely of the four teams to swap picks with the Panthers. However, it was clear down the stretch last season that Roethlisberger is much closer to the end of his career than the organization might want to admit.