Throughout the year and leading up to the 2021 NFL draft, we will update our Carolina Panthers Mock Draft Roundup showing picks for the Carolina Panthers from several prominent sites and draft analysts.
The following are picks in recent mock drafts for the Panthers:
Based on this mock, the Panthers draft a high-upside prospect that could sit behind Teddy Bridgewater for a year (or even two, if necessary).
While Lance is making the jump from 17 games -- including only one in 2020 -- against FCS-level competition, the dual-threat quarterback accounted for 48 touchdowns -- 30 passing and 18 rushing -- and threw only one interception in his collegiate career. Based on his natural tools, one could argue that Lance has as much upside as any quarterback in this draft class.
Teddy Bridgewater didn't do enough in 2020 to instill confidence that he's the guy for coach Matt Rhule, and Lance has a big arm, reads the field well and is productive as a runner. But with a 17-game résumé at the FCS level, he will require time to learn and develop before he is given the reins in Joe Brady's offense. Drew Brees retired, and Matt Ryan (35) and Tom Brady (43) aren't getting any younger, so why not draft a franchise QB now to set the Panthers up in the evolving NFC South?
The Panthers haven't tried to hide their desire for a quarterback to replace Teddy Bridgewater, making a strong push to acquire Matthew Stafford before he was dealt to the Rams. Jones is a tier below the top four quarterbacks in this class, but he spent time with Carolina coach Matt Rhule at the Senior Bowl and could succeed quickly with an impressive group of weapons.
If I were to predict trades this draft, Carolina is the team I would project to move up to try and secure Fields. I'm not sure the Falcons will be willing to work with a team in the division, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. Instead, the Panthers go with maybe the most talented pass-catcher in the draft with Pitts to surround whoever is playing QB with more weapons. Pitts wowed scouts by running an unofficial 4.46 and showed he should be able to line up anywhere on the field and still be a mismatch even at the NFL level.
I'd be mildly surprised if the Panthers don't trade up with the Falcons to secure their quarterback of the future. Fields' heroic performance in the Sugar Bowl against Clemson is more indicative of the player's potential than his questionable decision making against Northwestern and Indiana.
Panthers owner David Tepper is reportedly dead-set on upgrading the quarterback position this offseason, as the team made a push for Matthew Stafford and has been involved in Deshaun Watson trade speculation. After standing pat in free agency, it will have a chance to make noise in the draft. With four quarterbacks already off the board, Tepper and Co. could look to Jones to take Carolina's offense to the next level. The Crimson Tide star is an accurate passer and strong decision-maker who has excelled on college football's biggest stage. Surrounded by a skill-position group featuring Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, and Robby Anderson, Jones would have the opportunity to start from day one.
Teddy Bridgewater is one year into his three-year, $63 million contract, but he didn't exactly look like he did when he went 5-0 as Drew Brees' backup in 2019, so it's not totally out of the question for Matt Rhule to find an eventual replacement. Mac Jones is a very efficient passer --he completed 76.5% of his passes in his first full season as Alabama's starter -- who can overcome average mobility and arm strength with pinpoint ball placement skills, smarts and pocket presence.