Panthers 2021 NFL Draft: Way-too-early 3-round mock draft

2021 NFL Draft prospect Chazz Surratt #21 of the University of North Carolina. (Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
2021 NFL Draft prospect Chazz Surratt #21 of the University of North Carolina. (Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /
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Carolina Panthers, 2021 NFL Draft, Christian McCaffrey
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – DECEMBER 29: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers during the second half during their game against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

2021 NFL Draft: Way-too-early Carolina Panthers mock draft.

The Carolina Panthers are in year one of the Matt Rhule era, and they have already re-shaped the roster beyond recognition of the crew Ron Rivera coached, even just a season ago. It may seem premature, but the Panthers will do their best in 2020 with one eye on the 2021 NFL Draft class to continue building this roster up.

Although the Panthers are building around star running back Christian McCaffrey, this roster has very few pieces offensively that it can point to as cornerstone pieces for the future.

One piece the Panthers should be able to build around is wide receiver DJ Moore, a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft who finished second on the team in 2019 with 135 targets in the passing game but number one on the team with 1,175 receiving yards.

Although it was quiet, former second-round pick Curtis Samuel also provided a spark for the offense, ranking second on the team behind McCaffrey with seven total touchdowns (six receiving, one rushing).

The Panthers are hoping Robby Anderson can come in and be productive as a vertical threat in the passing game with veteran Teddy Bridgewater now running the show.

Cam Newton’s departure left questions about the long-term future of the quarterback position for the Panthers, which is sort of where their 2021 NFL Draft discussion begins.

Is this team going to be in the market for a top QB prospect next offseason?

That may be entirely up to Bridgewater.

If Bridgewater can come in and light it up this season, the Panthers may attempt to build around him. If he is just ‘OK’ (or worse) or doesn’t stay healthy, the Panthers should be in the market for the top QB prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Let’s take an early look at what a three-round mock draft could look like for the Panthers in 2021.