2021 NFL Draft: Carolina Panthers seven-round mock draft

Carolina Panthers helmet (Photo by Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)
Carolina Panthers helmet (Photo by Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports) /
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2021 nfl draft, carolina panthers, jalen mayfield
ORLANDO, FL – JANUARY 01: 2021 NFL draft prospect Jalen Mayfield #73 of the Michigan Wolverines blocks during the Vrbo Citrus Bowl against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Camping World Stadium on January 1, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. Alabama defeated Michigan 35-16. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Carolina Panthers 2021 mock draft Round 2

Jalen Mayfield. OT. Michigan. 39. player. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. 87

In the 2021 offseason free-agency period, the Carolina Panthers will potentially be losing starting left tackle Russell Okung as well as four interior linemen, including both starting guards. Thankfully for Carolina, the 2021 NFL draft offensive tackle class includes a plethora of prospects with the potential to slide inside or operate as a blocker in space at tackle.

A smooth-mover in space with legitimate NFL size, Michigan tackle Jalen Mayfield has been a consistent presence on the edge for the Wolverines’ offense since 2019. With one of the most qualified resumes among offensive tackles in the 2021 NFL draft, Mayfield has proven his athletic ability against a host of 2020 NFL draft pass-rushers including current Panthers’ pass-rusher Yetur Gross-Matos.

Even at six-foot-five, Mayfield has the versatility to slide inside if another option is found to fulfill the tackle position, but with the unique combination of quick feet and size, Mayfield is a steal at the top of the second round in the 2021 NFL draft to address the loss of Okung.

Round 4

player. 87. Scouting Report. 104. IOL. Georgia. Ben Cleveland. Pick Analysis

Further solving the dire issue of personnel on the interior of the offensive line, the Carolina Panthers work their way back to the “Keep Pounding” mentality with a brute of an interior lineman out of Georgia that can not only open gaping holes in the running game but retain pocket-structure against the likes of Vita Vea and Grady Jarrett in pass-protection.

At six-foot-six, 335-pounds, Ben Cleveland is a brute force in the running game with his combination of size and aggression. Outweighing and outreaching many opposing defensive tackles, Cleveland is able to drive defenders off of the snap with his physical superiority.

Cleveland also translated this physicality into pass-protection against the power-rushing nose tackles, neutralizing what would typically be an effective pass-rush because of their physical dominance (ex: Javon Kinlaw’s bullrush).

The single issue in pass-protection which could arise though is a lack of lateral mobility which could be exploited by quick, stunting linebackers in a mismatch scenario.