After seemingly months of speculation, the Carolina Panthers finally made their choice in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
It’s been a long time coming. But the Carolina Panthers now have their first-round pick secured after taking Jaycee Horn at No. 8 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The hours before the draft was nothing short of extraordinary. Between the Aaron Rodgers rumors and the constant speculation regarding trade-ups and the quarterback prospects, it resulted in most NFL fans needing a lie down even before the draft began.
There was no surprise who went No. 1 and No. 2. As expected, the Jacksonville Jaguars took Clemson phenom, Trevor Lawrence, in the hope he can transform the fortunes of the franchise, with the New York Jets banking on the upside of former BYU signal-caller Zach Wilson leading them back to prominence.
As for the Panthers, they came within one pick of landing offensive tackle Penei Sewell before he was snapped up by the Detroit Lions. This gave the team plenty of options, which eventually saw those in power come to the conclusion that trading back wasn’t an option and went with Horn out of South Carolina.
Carolina Panthers got a good one in Jaycee Horn
The move fills an obvious need for the Panthers. They don’t have much in the way of depth behind Donte Jackson and free-agent signing A.J. Bouye, who is also suspended for the first two games of the 2021 season.
Horn surged up draft boards last season after shutting down some of college football’s most dynamic weapons. The likes of Kyle Pitts and Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith had a hard time going up against the former Gamecock in 2020 and Matt Rhule got a good look at the prospect for himself at South Carolina’s pro day during the evaluation process.
The temptation to select Justin Fields was there for all to see. Carolina will now give Sam Darnold the chance to prove his worth and Horn’s arrival is another huge shot in the arm for a defense that made some notable progression as the season went on.
This isn’t a sexy pick, but neither was Derrick Brown last year and that didn’t turn out too badly.
However, this selection won’t ever come down to how well Horn performs. If Darnold bombs and Fields thrives, it could come back to haunt Carolina.
The son of former Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn is vicious, thrives in press coverage, and can help in run support superbly. His athleticism knows no bounds and he might be able to make his presence felt from the word go.