Carolina Panthers 7-round 2021 mock draft brings playoff potential

(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) Richie Grant
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) Richie Grant /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) Rashawn Slater /

Carolina Panthers trade down from No. 8

The Carolina Panthers opt to trade out of the No. 8 overall selection by making a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, who jump up four spots to get a much-needed offensive weapon in the form of Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle. This makes a ton of sense if Kyle Pitts, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and Penei Sewell are off the board, which played out as expected in this particular scenario.

This gives the Panthers an additional second-rounder this year, in addition to the second they are set to give the New York Jets in 2022 following the Sam Darnold trade.

Getting capital is key. And if they don’t drop too far then it might see them get their original target in the process.

Round No. 1 (Pick No. 12)

Rashawn Slater – OT (Northwestern)

It’s no secret that the Panthers have struggled for consistent blindside protection since All-Pro Jordan Gross retired in 2013.  This was once again evident last season thanks in no small part to Russell Okung’s inability to stay healthy following his trade from the Los Angeles Chargers, so it’s a case of back to the drawing board once again.

Rashawn Slater could change all that in an instant. The former Northwestern standout has franchise left tackle written all over him and even though he opted out of the 2020 campaign due to COVID-19 health concerns, it should not prevent the lineman from making an immediate impression.

If Slater transitions to the next level as expected, Carolina will have a bookend presence with the rookie and Taylor Moton that should give Darnold every chance of making a better go of things on a new team.

After gambling Slater would make it to No. 12 after trading down, this is a big win for the Panthers.