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
(Kyle Robertson/The Columbus Dispatch/USA TODAY Network) DeVonta Smith /

DeVonta Smith – WR (Alabama)

Although the Carolina Panthers have some dynamic weapons at wide receiver heading into the 2021 campaign, someone like DeVonta Smith could make them almost unstoppable if Sam Darnold hits the ground running. The Alabama wide receiver heads to the NFL on the back of an extraordinary campaign with the Crimson Tide that resulted in another national championship for Nick Saban and a prestigious individual award for the prospect.

Smith was at his brilliant best throughout the 2020 season, hauling in 117 receptions for 1,856 receiving yards, 23 touchdowns, a 15.9 yards-per-reception average, and a Heisman Trophy.

These sorts of credentials would see Smith as the No. 1 wideout during most drafts. But the presence of LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase and Bama teammate Jaylen Waddle might mean he is available for the Panthers at No. 8 overall.

He might be a little light from a physical standpoint for the next level. However, Smith has the sort of elite route-running and yards after the catch potential that shouldn’t be overlooked for too long.

Carolina lost Curtis Samuel to the Washington Football Team in free agency and although they did bring in David Moore as a replacement, there is no such thing as too many weapons and if Smith is there when they’re on the clock, a discussion needs to be had.