5 players the Carolina Panthers could have drafted instead of Jaycee Horn in 2021

Jaycee Horn and Pat Surtain II
Jaycee Horn and Pat Surtain II / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers could have drafted Micah Parsons

The Carolina Panthers could arguably have the best edge rushing pair in the league had they decided to take Micah Parsons with the No. 8 overall pick two years ago. The former Penn State man has emerged as one of the most dominant pass rushers in the league. 

This may have been a questionable pick at the time as the Panthers had acquired Haason Reddick to line up opposite Brian Burns. But with the veteran on just a one-year deal and potentially commanding a large contract the following offseason, it would have been feasible to take Parsons, ready to unleash him as a long-term presence flying off the edge.

With the Panthers struggling to find a starter opposite Burns for the second season, having someone with the star caliber of Parsons would have been a godsend. He has quickly developed into a menace when it comes to getting after the quarterback. 

In just two seasons, Parsons has 149 tackles, 26.5 sacks, and six forced fumbles. It’s not surprising that he was named All-Rookie in 2021 along with Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors en route to NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. After 13.5 sacks in 2022, he was again voted to the Pro Bowl and named first-team All-Pro. 

Again, Parsons has been healthy for his short NFL career, playing in 33 of 34 regular season games and all three of the Dallas Cowboys playoff games. The Panthers wouldn’t have had to worry about having a starting edge rusher for potentially the next 7-8 years had they gone with the dynamic prospect instead of Horn.