3 trade options for the Carolina Panthers in the 2021 NFL Draft

After acquiring Sam Darnold in a blockbuster trade, the Carolina Panthers are not necessarily in need of a quarterback. This changes the dynamics for first-year general manager Scott Fitterer as he heads his first NFL Draft in that role.

Now, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Carolina is having conversations with other teams about potentially trading down from the eighth pick.

This makes sense for a number of reasons. First off, there’s a darn good chance that five quarterbacks go within the top-10 picks.

Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson will be the first two players off the board to the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, respectively. After pulling off a blockbuster trade, the San Francisco 49ers are slated to take a quarterback at three.

What does that mean? quarterback-needy teams will be paying a premium to trade up into the top 10 for a player at that position. Justin Fields, Mac Jones and Trey Lance are all options. Below, we give you three ideal Carolina Panthers trade-down scenarios for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Read More: NFL trade rumors: Latest updates and information for 2021 offseason

Carolina Panthers trade down with the Philadelphia Eagles

Devonta Smith, Carolina Panthers
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia picked up a 2022 first-round selection in the three-team trade with the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers that saw the team move down from the sixth selection to 12 overall. It would in no way be a surprise if general manager Howie Roseman looked to move back up into the top-10 for a wide receiver. It’s a major need for the Eagles with Jalen Hurts slated to start under center in 2021. Meanwhile, the wide receiver class is absolutely stacked this year.

As for the Panthers, trading down to 12 would still enable them to add a wide receiver for the recently-acquired Darnold. It’s a need for offensive-minded head coach Matt Rhule. One of Devonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle or Ja’Marr Chase should be available. This trade would likely net Carolina the Eagles’ second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Read More: 2021 NFL Draft: Ideal fits for top 5 wide receivers

Carolina Panthers trade down with the New England Patriots

Bill Belichick-Tom Brady debate is completely overblown
Oct 27, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick with quarterback Tom Brady (12) after defeating the Cleveland Browns at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

To say that Bill Belichick and the Patriots are a true wildcard leading up to the draft would be an understatement. There’s some talk that the team might buck the trend and trade up for a franchise quarterback to finally find a long-term replacement for Tom Brady. If so, the Panthers could make sense at eight. It’s all dependent on one quarterback out of Trey Lance, Mac Jones and Justin Fields being available.

Trading down from eight to 15 would net Carolina the Patriots’ 2022 first-round pick and a third-round selection this year. In turn, Fitterer would be able to build up the talent of a roster that sorely disappointed last season. He could also add a wide receiver at 15.

Read More: 2021 NFL mock draft: QBs dominate top-10 picks, big trades

Carolina Panthers trade down with the Washington Football Team

Carolina Panthers, Trey Lance
Jan 11, 2020; Frisco, Texas, USA; North Dakota State Bison quarterback Trey Lance (5) runs the ball in the third quarter against the James Madison Dukes at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina needs help along the offensive line and in the defensive front seven. The good news here is that the 2021 NFL Draft is absolutely loaded at both positions — primarily offensive tackle and edge pass rusher. Moving down with Washington to 19 would still net the Panthers a strong asset while enabling the team to pick up future draft picks.

As for Washington, there’s been a lot of talk in the nation’s capital about new general manager Martin Mayhew moving up for a franchise quarterback. Specifically, Washington has been linked to North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. Following his tremendous performance during a second pro day this week, Lance could make a ton of sense for Washington.