The Panthers hope that Bridgewater can come in and establish himself as the clear franchise quarterback of the team. However, they should be ready to move on at the quarterback position if necessary.
Carolina holds the fourth overall pick in this mock draft, meaning their 2020 season did not exactly go according to plan. It is fair to assume that Bridgewater did not have the greatest season if the Panthers are picking fourth overall. With this being the case, I had quarterback on the radar and decided to make Justin Fields out of Ohio State the pick.
The Carolina Panthers would undoubtedly love to be in a position to land Trevor Lawrence out of Clemson. The local product is arguably the best quarterback prospect in recent memory, but Fields would not be a bad consolation prize.
Fields is an impressive dual-threat quarterback who shows an incredible combination of size, arm strength and mobility at the position. He is a smart player who does a nice job of reading the entire field, shows a quick release and is an incredibly difficult player to bring down. Fields has the arm strength to hit any throw on the football field and shows impressive accuracy and touch to all levels.
While Fields is a dynamic rushing threat from the quarterback position, he is not necessarily an elite athlete. He is a big and powerful runner who also throws on the run extremely well, but he is not a guy who is going to consistently win with his speed. He is undoubtedly a threat with his legs, but Fields’ overall passing ability is what really makes him stand out as a quarterback prospect.
The Panthers may not aggressively attack the quarterback position in the 2021 NFL Draft, but if they end up picking this high, the position has to be on their radar. In this scenario, taking a guy like Fields undoubtedly makes sense, giving Carolina a young and talented signal-caller to build their offense around.