4 first-round prospects who would help Panthers QB Sam Darnold most

(Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Pitts /

Kyle Pitts – TE (Florida)

It would be a big surprise if Kyle Pitts fell all the way down to No. 8. But the Carolina Panthers would have a big decision to make in this eventuality.

The Florida tight end is No. 1 on many people’s big boards – and with good reason. So the opportunity to bring him on board would definitely fit general manager Scott Fitterer’s desire to go with the best player available rather than need.

Pitts has the scope to be a generational talent at the position. He is an absolute nightmare to match up with either on the outside or in the slot, with the prospect’s wide wingspan making him a target that is going to be a quarterback’s best friend at the next level.

The Panthers were sorely lacking in tight end production after deciding to let Greg Olsen leave in free agency for the Seattle Seahawks. Ian Thomas just didn’t do enough to command more involvement and although Dan Arnold could be s shrewd signing in a familiar scheme, Pitts is a once-in-a-lifetime prospect that could become an all-time great.

Carolina does need a prolific left tackle to protect Darnold. However, this is expected to be an extremely deep draft class for offensive linemen, and if Pitts does make it down to the Panthers at No. 8, it wouldn’t be the biggest shock in the world to see them pull the trigger.