Final 7-round Panthers 2021 mock draft after Teddy Bridgewater trade

Dean Jones
(Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater
(Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports) Teddy Bridgewater /
6 of 7
Carolina Panthers
(Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports) Aaron Banks /

Round No. 5 (Pick No. 152)

Aaron Banks – OG (Notre Dame)

The Carolina Panthers may have brought in Sam Darnold from the New York Jets, but that will count for absolutely nothing if they cannot get better protection around the quarterback in 2021, assuming he is the starter in this scenario. The weapons at the player’s disposal could be classed as an embarrassment of riches – certainly far superior to anything he had at MetLife Stadium – so it’s vital the offensive line holds up its end of the bargain.

Fortunately for the Panthers, this is expected to be an extremely deep draft class in this regard. Starting caliber prospects could be found almost anywhere if Carolina identifies the right fit, which general manager Scott Fitterer gained a strong reputation for during his time with the Seattle Seahawks.

Someone like Aaron Banks might fall into this bracket. The guard was part of Notre Dame’s ferocious offensive line over the last couple of years, with four of them set to hear their name called during the draft weekend.

Banks has an NFL-ready frame and has the aggression to match. There would be some complications if he was left on an island at any stage during his initial transition, but this could be a shrewd pickup for anyone looking for a bit more value from their next starting interior lineman.