The final week of our NFL Draft Countdown is clicking down. We are anticipating a somewhat “back to normal” NFL draft after the entirely at-home draft we had last year. With the announcement that Roger Goodell is fully vaccinated, the NFL also announced that “bro hugs” will also be coming back when the top draft prospects walk across the stage! With all that being said, our mock drafting is coming to an end, and so we bring to you my final Carolina Panthers 2021 7-Round NFL Mock Draft.
Round 1, Pick 8
Kyle Pitts / TE / Florida
It is day one of draft night. In this scenario, we must assume Atlanta, Miami, and Cincinnati all passed up on Pitts for other top talent receivers which leave the Florida tight end sitting in the Panthers’ lap. Recent rumors have mentioned that the Panthers might be interested in drafting a quarterback still despite a Sam Darnold trade earlier this month but those rumors are likely a smokescreen to have the option for a trade down. No trade down needed here with a generational talent at #8.
Anyone who looks at Kyle Pitts as a tight end is looking at him in the wrong way. Pitts is arguably the top receiver talent in this draft and is looking like a highly sought-over player due to the lack of height in wide receivers in this year’s draft. He’s too tall for defensive backs to cover him (6’6”) and too fast for linebackers to cover him. You can play him out wide, in the slot, and attached to the line. As said by SB Nation writer Mathew Chambers, “Pitts has been considered by some to be a generational talent, a complete package of elite pass-catching, blocking, and effort, and potentially the best player available in the entire draft.”
For the Panthers to be able to get Kyle Pitts at #8 will be an absolute steal for in this year’s draft with a huge while at the tight end position in Carolina since Greg Olsen.
Round 2, Pick 39
Samuel Cosmi / OT / Texas
On the right side of the o-line, Taylor Moton is going into a contract year at right tackle. At left tackle, the Panthers signed former Vikings tackle Cam Erving, but he is not presumably the answer at left tackle if you want Sam Darnold to be able to succeed in Charlotte. You already got Darnold a new weapon with Pitts, and now it’s time to protect him. Sam Cosmi is such an enticing prospect because of his ability to play multiple positions on the o-line. Cosmi is a three-year starter at Texas with above-average athleticism and technique while playing in college. He’d be ready to start on the o-line anywhere you put him.
Round 3, Pick 73
Richie Grant / S / UCF
With the release of Tre Boston at safety, that leaves Justin Burris to take over for the veteran presence in our secondary despite how weak it is already. Jeremy Chinn stood out as one of the best defensive rookies last season, but now it is time to get a young free safety next to him. Richie Grant still needs a lot of work to be the Panthers’ next free safety. You might run into a few blown coverages on his way developing but he has the physical aspects to be a starting safety in the NFL.
Round 4, Pick 113
Chuba Hubbard / HB / Oklahoma State
The NFC South has to watch out if standout halfback Chuba Hubbard gets swooped up by the Panthers in this year’s draft. The Panthers’ offense might become one of the most dangerous in the NFL with studs like DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, CMC, Sam Darnold, and additions like Kyle Pitts and Chuba Hubbard. After last year, it is clear that Cristian McCaffrey is not invincible and if Carolina wants to keep their star running back on the field, you need to find someone you can split the carries with.
With the departure of Mike Davis, the Panthers have no real talent behind McCaffrey at half-back. Hubbard was one of the best rushers in school history rushing for over 2,000 yards in 2019. 2020 was certainly a down year for him due to surgeries which is a real concern. He also lacks in the passing game but with one of the best receiving backs in your locker room, that is no concern for Joe Brady to use Chuba Hubbard in his offense.
Round 5, Pick 151
Dazz Newsome / WR / North Carolina
The Panthers don’t look too far away from home with this selection as they pick up Dazz Newsome from UNC. Curtis Samuel left to rejoin former head coach Ron Rivera in Washington this offseason, therefore, creating a hole at slot wide receiver which is where Newsome excelled. Newsome has had a productive 4-year career at UNC despite all the skill on the offense and can be a high-value player for being chosen in the fifth round.
Round 6, Pick 193
Shakur Brown / CB / Michigan State
The secondary was arguably the weakest place on this Panther’s depth chart coming into this offseason. Donte Jackson dealt with injuries all season, and while Rasul Douglas looked like the best part of this unit last season, he joined the Raiders this offseason. Panthers hope Donte Jackson will be back to 100% this upcoming season, along with the signing of A.J. Bouye and 2020 fourth-round pick Troy Pride Jr., the Panthers secondary look to be on the rise. Shakur Brown looks to add depth to the secondary in Carolina and possibly make an impact on the perimeter and/or the slot.
Round 6, Pick 222
Tristen Hoge / IOL / BYU
To wrap up our Carolina Panthers 2021 NFL Mock Draft, we resubmit ourselves to protecting Sam Darnold. Hoge was the top-ranked center coming out of high school. He only played in 6-games as a freshman for Notre Dame before transferring to BYU. A leg injury forced him out of his 2019 season and then COVID-19 and pneumonia forced Tristen Hoge to miss some time in 2020. He has a chance at a backup role in Carolina if making it onto the 53-man roster.