Panthers 7-round mock 2021 NFL Draft using best player available

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Jaylen Waddle
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Jaylen Waddle /
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Carolina Panthers
(Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel) Jaylen Waddle /

Round No. 1 (Pick No. 8)

Jaylen Waddle – WR (Alabama)

With the top-four quarterbacks, Penei Sewell and Kyle Pitts all off the board, the Carolina Panthers take the next best available in wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. This would be an absolutely jaw-dropping move by the organization whichever way one looks at it, but the benefits could be vast upon further examination.

The Alabama standout is an exceptional talent who can make things happen all over the field. Waddle possesses blazing speed that can stretch the field, has the ability to make his presence felt from the slot, and can also line up in the backfield should the opportunity arise.

There were some injury concerns during the 2020 season for Waddle, although it doesn’t appear as if this is anything that’s going to have long-term implications. The ceiling is incredibly high where the prospect is concerned and from the Panthers’ perspective, there is no such thing as too many weapons.

Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore are heading into contract years, although the latter will get his fifth-year option picked up. Carolina also lost Curtis Samuel to the Washington Football Team in free agency, so although they signed David Moore to potentially fill the void, acquiring Waddle would be an immediate upgrade and one that could play a huge role in Sam Darnold’s transition.

Everything seems to be in play for the Panthers at No. 8. So taking Waddle if he is still around should not be ruled out by any stretch of the imagination.