The Carolina Panthers have a chance to select a franchise-altering player with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but it's also possible they decide to trade down. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Panthers have had conversations with other teams about potentially moving back. As you would expect, Schefter says that many teams are engaged in conversations about potential trades, and the Panthers are included in the mix.
The Panthers were once considered a team in the mix for a quarterback in the first round, but they acquired their new starter via trade earlier this month by striking a deal with the New York Jets for Sam Darnold. The first half of the first round will be about quarterbacks, as the first three picks are expected to be signal-callers. Depending on who that third quarterback is, teams could be motivated to trade up to select the next one. Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are expected to be the first two quarterbacks off the board, but as for who the San Francisco 49ers' take at No. 3, that's something everyone is trying to figure out. If Justin Fields or Trey Lance begin to fall, general managers may be unable to stop themselves from picking up the phone.
Our four CBS NFL Draft writers have the Panthers staying put at No. 8 overall at this point, and all four have Carolina taking an offensive lineman who should be able to come in and help protect Darnold in Year One. Ryan Wilson, Chris Trapasso and Josh Edwards are eyeing Oregon's Penei Sewell, while Pete Prisco predicts Rashawn Slater out of Northwestern. The Panthers' rival in the Atlanta Falcons, who are currently slated at No. 4 overall, are another team that could trade down come draft night. If not, the Panthers might be the next team quarterback-needy franchises approach with a trade offer.