Carolina Panthers 2021 NFL mock draft: Round 1, 8th overall
After making the big move for Darnold, quarterback is no longer a priority for the Carolina Panthers in the draft. Now, the Panthers have the freedom to find the player who will help them the best, regardless of position. Team needs will be taken into consideration but the Panthers can mostly sit back and take the best player available at No. 8.
Tight end Kyle Pitts would be a viable option were he available. With Pitts off of the board in this 2021 NFL mock draft, the decision was between two players: Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II and Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater. Either player would be a strong choice for Carolina at No. 8 but Surtain stands out as the better pick.
Surtain is a big, long and athletic cornerback prospect who shines in press coverage at the line of scrimmage. He is a tough and scrappy defender who does a great job of using his hands, uses his quick feet to maintain a good position in coverage and attacks the ball in the air extremely well.
Surtain is a gifted cornerback prospect who is ready to come in and make an immediate impact at the next level. He is most impressive in press coverage but shows plenty of ability in off-man and zone as well. Simply put, he is an extremely well-rounded player who would provide immediate value and a ton of long-term upside at an important position of need for the team.