NEXT MOVE? After offseason of roster change, Panthers head into 2021 draft will multiple options (with full list Panthers’ all-time draft picks)

By Richard Walker

One year after setting NFL history by selected only defensive players in the 2020 draft, the Carolina Panthers enter the 2021 draft after an offseason full of roster moves.

Christian McCaffrey

After replacing 16 starters during the 2020 season, including one due to Christian McCaffrey’s injuries, Carolina currently enters the draft with a projected starting lineup that would inclued 11 new starters (including McCaffrey).

And next week’s draft, which begins on Thursday and continues Friday and Saturday, could alter that even more.

The Panthers, coming off a 5-11 season, currently have seven selections for the upcoming draft – Nos. 8, 39, 73, 113, 151, 193 and 222.

But after head coach Matt Rhule and general manager Scott Fitterer met with the media on Friday, even that’s no certainty.

After an offseason in which media projected the Panthers to choose one of the many coveted quarterbacks available, possibly trading up to do so, virtually all of that speculation ended earlier this month when the team acquired quarterback Sam Darnold from the New York Jets.

Fitterer on Friday wouldn’t rule out using the No. 8 selection or a player he wants – or trading back.

Recently, many mock drafts consider the Panthers a potential trading partner for several NFL teams looking to move up in the draft.

If Carolina doesn’t do a deal, most draft experts are projecting an offensive tackle – either Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater or Oregon’s Penei Sewell – with the No. 8 overall selection.

It’s already been an active offseason for the Panthers as they team has signed 18 free agents and made the trade for Darnold.

Entering the draft, a tentative starting lineup could include the following longtime Panthers – a now healthy McCaffrey at running back along with returning starters D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson at wide receiver, Matt Paradis and Taylor Moton on the offensive line, Brian Burns, Bravvion Roy and Derrick Brown on the defensive line, Shaq Thompson at linebacker and Donte Jackson, Juston Burris and Jeremy Chinn in the defensive secondary.

It also could include several newcomers, among them Darnold at quarterback, offensive lineman Pat Elfein, tight end Dan Arnold and linebackers Denzel Perryman and Haason Reddick.

“To me, it’s all about vision,” Rhule said on Friday. “It’s about the Carolina Panthers, from me to Scott to every coach to every scout, understanding the vision of the type of player we want, the type of team we want to build, and the vision at each position. When people see the vision the same way, they might not agree on the player, but they understand the vision, and you end up bringing in the right players.
“I think it’s been unbelievably collaborative; I never want group-think. I don’t want it on our coaching staff. I’m sure Scott doesn’t want it on his personnel staff. If we all think the same, no one’s thinking. But what we do want is discussion, conversation. People say collaboration. Sometimes collaboration is disagreeing and arguing. So I think we have a great thing going.”



All-time Carolina Panthers draft picks:

First round (No. 5 overall) Kerry Collins, QB Penn State
First round (No. 22 overall) Tyrone Poole, DB Fort Valley State
First round (No. 29 overall) Blake Brockermeyer, OT Texas
Second round (No. 36 overall) Shawn King, DE Louisiana-Monroe
Fourth round (No. 132 overall) Frank Garcia, C Washington
Fifth round (No. 135 overall) Michael Senters, DB Northwestern
Fifth round (No. 171 overall) Andrew Peterson, OT Washington
Sixth round (No. 188 overall) Steve Strahan, DT Baylor
Sixth round (No. 191 overall) Jerry Colquitt, QB Tennessee
Seventh round (No. 209 overall) Chad Cota, DB Oregon
Seventh round (No. 249 overall) Michael Reed, DB Boston College

First round (No. 8 overall) Tim Biakabutuka, RB Michigan
Second round (No. 43 overall) Muhsin Muhammad, WR Michigan State
Third round (No. 73 overall) Winslow Oliver, RB New Mexico
Third round (No. 88 overall) J.C. Price, DT Virginia Tech
Fourth round (No. 106 overall) Norbert Davidds-Garrido, OT Southern California
Fourth round (No. 111 overall) Emmanuel McDaniel, DB East Carolina
Fifth round (No. 142 overall) Marquette Smith, RB Central Florida
Sixth round (No. 193 overall) Scott Greene, RB Michigan State
Seventh round (No. 217 overall) Donnell Baker, WR Southern U.
Seventh round (No. 234 overall) Kerry Hicks, DE Colorado

First round (No. 27 overall) Rae Carruth, WR Colorado
Second round (No. 56 overall) Mike Minter, DB Nebraska
Third round (No. 87 overall) Kinnon Tatum, LB Notre Dame
Fourth round (No. 122 overall) Tarek Saleh, LB Wisconsin
Sixth round (No. 189 overall) Matt Finkes, DE Ohio State
Seventh round (No. 228 overall) Kris Mangum, TE Mississippi

First round (No. 14 overall) Jason Peter, DE Nebraska
Third round (No. 62 overall) Chuck Wiley, DE LSU
Third round (No. 73 overall) Mitch Marrow, DE Pennsylvania
Fourth round (No. 106 overall) Donald Hayes, WR Wisconsin
Fifth round (No. 136 overall) Jerry Jensen, LB Washington
Sixth round (No. 165 overall) Damien Richardson, DB Arizona State
Seventh round (No. 196 overall) Viliami Maumau, DT Colorado
Seventh round (No. 228 overall) Jim Turner, WR Syracuse

Second round (No. 34 overall) Chris Terry, OT Georgia
Second round (No. 38 overall) Mike Rucker, DE Nebraska
Fourth round (No. 100 overall) Hannibal Navies, LB Colorado
Sixth round (No. 175 overall) Robert Daniel, DE Northwestern State
Seventh round (No. 211 overall) Tony Booth, DB James Madison

First round (No. 23 overall) Rashard Anderson, DB Jackson State
Second round (No. 57 overall) Deon Grant, DB Tennessee
Third round (No. 82 overall) Leander Jordan, OT Indiana, Pa.
Fourth round (No. 120 overall) Alvin McKinley, DE Mississippi State
Fifth round (No. 147 overall) Gillis Wilson, DE Saginaw Valley State
Sixth round (No. 182 overall) Jeno James, OG Auburn
Seventh round (No. 221 overall) Lester Towns, LB Washington

First round (No. 11 overall) Dan Morgan, LB Miami, Fla.
Second round (No. 44 overall) Kris Jenkins, DT Maryland
Third round (No. 74 overall) Steve Smith, WR Utah
Fourth round (No. 106 overall) Chris Weinke, QB Florida State
Fifth round (No. 143 overall) Jarrod Cooper, DB Kansas State
Sixth round (No. 175 overall) Dee Brown, RB Syracuse
Seventh round (No. 211 overall) Louis Williams, C LSU
Seventh round (No. 227 overall) Mike Roberg, TE Idaho

First round (No. 2 overall) Julius Peppers, DE North Carolina
Second round (No. 34 overall) DeShaun Foster, RB UCLA
Third round (No. 73 overall) Will Witherspoon, LB Georgia
Fourth round (No. 100 overall) Dante Wesley, DB Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Fifth round (No. 137 overall) Randy Fasani, QB Stanford
Fifth round (No. 145 overall) Kyle Johnson, RB Syracuse
Sixth round (No. 174 overall) Keith Heinrich, TE Sam Houston State
Seventh round (No. 213 overall) Pete Campion, OG North Dakota State
Seventh round (No. 258 overall) Brad Franklin, DB Louisiana-Lafayette

First round (No. 8 overall) Jordan Gross, OT Utah
Second round (No. 50 overall) Bruce Nelson, OG UCLA
Third round (No. 76 overall) Mike Seidman, TE UCLA
Third round (No. 82 overall) Ricky Manning, DB UCLA
Fourth round (No. 119 overall) Colin Branch, DB Stanford
Fifth round (No. 145 overall) Kindal Moorehead, DT Alabama
Seventh round (No. 226 overall) Walter Young, WR Illinois
Seventh round (No. 247 overall) Casey Moore, RB Stanford

First round (No. 28 overall) Chris Gamble, DB Ohio State
Second round (No. 62 overall) Keary Colbert, WR Southern California
Third round (No. 94 overall) Travelle Wharton, OT South Carolina
Fifth round (No. 163 overall) Drew Carter, WR Ohio State
Sixth round (No. 196 overall) Sean Tufts, LB Colorado
Seventh round (No. 232 overall) Michael Gaines, TE Central Florida

First round (No. 14 overall) Thomas Davis, DB Georgia
Second round (No. 54 overall) Eric Shelton, RB Louisville
Third round (No. 79 overall) Evan Mathis, OG Alabama
Third round (No. 89 overall) Atiyyah Ellison, DT Missouri
Fourth round (No. 121 overall) Stefan Lefors, QB Louisville
Fifth round (No. 149 overall) Adam Seward, LB UNLV
Fifth round (No. 169 overall) Geoff Hangartner, C Texas A&M
Fifth round (No. 171 overall) Ben Emanuel, DB UCLA
Sixth round (No. 189 overall) Jovan Haye, DE Vanderbilt
Sixth round (No. 207 overall) Joe Berger, OT Michigan Tech

First round (No. 27 overall) DeAngelo Williams, RB Memphis
Second round (No. 58 overall) Richard Marshall, DB Fresno State
Third round (No. 88 overall) James Anderson, LB Virginia Tech
Third round (No. 89 overall) Rashad Butler, OT Miami, Fla.
Fourth round (No. 121 overall) Nate Salley, DB Ohio State
Fifth round (No. 155 overall) Jeff King, TE Virginia Tech
Seventh round (No. 234 overall) Will Montgomery, OG Virginia Tech
Seventh round (No. 237 overall) Stanley McClover, DE Auburn

First round (No. 25 overall) Jon Beason, LB Miami, Fla.
Second round (No. 45 overall) Dwayne Jarrett, WR Southern California
Second round (No. 59 overall) Ryan Kalil, C Southern California
Third round (No. 83 overall) Charles Johnson, DE Georgia
Fourth round (No. 118 overall) Ryne Robinson, WR Miami, O.
Fifth round (No. 155 overall) Dante Rosario, TE Oregon
Fifth round (No. 164 overall) Tim Shaw, LB Penn State
Seventh round (No. 226 overall) C.J. Wilson, DB Baylor

First round (No. 13 overall) Jonathan Stewart, RB Oregon
First round (No. 19 overall) Jeff Otah, OT Pittsburgh
Third round (No. 67 overall) Charles Godfrey, DB Iowa
Third round (No. 74 overall) Dan Connor, LB Penn State
Fifth round (No. 141 overall) Gary Barnidge, TE Louisville
Sixth round (No. 181 overall) Nick Hayden, DT Wisconsin
Seventh round (No. 221 overall) Hilee Taylor, DE North Carolina
Seventh round (No. 241 overall) Geoff Schwartz, OT Oregon
Seventh round (No. 250 overall) Mackenzy Bernadeau, OG Bentley

Second round (No. 43 overall) Everette Brown, DE Florida State
Second round (No. 59 overall) Sherrod Martin, DB Troy
Third round (No. 93 overall) Corvey Irvin, DT Georgia
Fourth round (No. 111 overall) Mike Goodson, RB Texas A&M
Fourth round (No. 128 overall) Tony Fiammetta, RB Syracuse
Fifth round (No. 163 overall) Duke Robinson, OG Oklahoma
Seventh round (No. 216 overall) Captain Munnerlyn, DB South Carolina

Second round (No. 48 overall) Jimmy Clausen, QB Notre Dame
Third round (No. 78 overall) Brandon LaFell, WR LSU
Third round (No. 89 overall) Armanti Edwards, WR Appalachian State
Fourth round (No. 124 overall) Eric Norwood, LB South Carolina
Sixth round (No. 175 overall) Greg Hardy, DE Mississippi
Sixth round (No. 198 overall) David Gettis, WR Baylor
Sixth round (No. 202 overall) Jordan Pugh, DB Texas A&M
Sixth round (No. 204 overall) Tony Pike, QB Cincinnati
Seventh round (No. 223 overall) R.J. Stanford, DB Utah
Seventh round (No. 249 overall) Robert McClain, DB Connecticut

First round (No. 1 overall) Cam Newton, QB Auburn
Third round (No. 65 overall) Terrell McClain, DL South Florida
Third round (No. 97 overall) Sione Fua, DL Stanford
Fourth round (No. 98 overall) Brandon Hogan, DB West Virginia
Fifth round (No. 132 overall) Kealoha Pilares, WR Hawaii
Sixth round (No. 166 overall) Lawrence Wilson, LB Central Connecticut State
Sixth round (No. 203 overall) Zachary Wilson, OL Washington State
Seventh round (No. 244 overall) Lee Ziemba, OL Auburn

First round (No. 12 overall) Luke Kuechly, LB Boston College
Second round (No. 40 overall) Amini Silatolu, OT Midwestern State
Fourth round (No. 103 overall) Frank Alexander, DE Oklahoma
Fourth round (No. 104 overall) Joe Adams, WR Arkansas
Fifth round (No. 143 overall) Josh Norman, CB Coastal Carolina
Sixth round (No. 207 overall) Brad Nortman, P Wisconsin
Seventh round (No. 216 overall) Josh Campbell, FS California

First round (No. 14 overall) Star Lotulelei, DT Utah
Second round (No. 44 overall) Kawann Short, DT Purdue
Fourth round (No. 108 overall) Edmund Kugbila, OG Valdosta State
Fifth round (No. 148 overall) A.J. Klein, LB Iowa State
Sixth round (No. 182 overall) Kenjon Barner, RB Oregon

First round (No. 28 overall) Kelvin Benjamin, WR Florida State
Second round (No. 60 overall) Kony Ealy, DE Missouri
Third round (No. 92 overall) Trai Turner, OG LSU
Fourth round (No. 128 overall) Tre Boston, S North Carolina
Fifth round (No. 148 overall) Bene Benwikere, CB San Jose State
Sixth round (No. 204 overall) Tyler Gaffney, RB Stanford

First round (No. 25 overall) Shaq Thompson, LB Washington
Second round (No. 41 overall) Devin Funchess, WR Michigan
Fourth round (No. 102 overall) Daryl Williams, OT Oklahoma
Fifth round (No. 169 overall) David Mayo, LB Texas State
Fifth round (No. 174 overall) Cameron Artis-Payne, RB Auburn

First round (No. 30 overall) Vernon Butler, DT Louisiana Tech
Second round (No. 62 overall) James Bradberry, CB Samford
Fifth round (No. 141 overall) Zach Sanchez, CB Oklahoma
Seventh round (No. 252 overall) Beau Sandland, TE Montana State

First round (No. 8 overall) Christian McCaffrey, RB Stanford
Second round (No. 40 overall) Curtis Samuel, WR Ohio State
Second round (No. 64 overall) Taylor Moton, OT Western Michigan
Third round (No. 77 overall) Daeshon Hall, DE Texas A&M
Fifth round (No. 152 overall) Corn Elder, DB Miami, Fla.
Sixth round (No. 192 overall) Alex Armah, FB West Georgia
Seventh round (No. 233 ovearll) Harrison Butker, PK Georgia Tech

First round (No. 24 overall) D.J. Moore, WR Maryland
Second round (No. 55 overall) Donte Jackson, CB LSU
Third round (No. 85 overall) Rashaan Gaulden, DB Tennesseee
Fourth round (No. 101 overall) Ian Thomas, TE Indiana
Fourth round (No. 136 overall) Marquis Haynes, DE Mississippi
Fifth round (No. 161 overall) Jermaine Carter, LB Maryland
Seventh round (No. 234 overall) Andre Smith, LB North Carolina
Seventh round (No. 242 overall) Kendrick Norton, DT Miami, Fla.

First round (No. 16 overall) Brian Burns, DE Florida State
Second round (No. 37 overall) Greg Little, OT Mississippi
Third round (No. 100 overall) Will Grier, QB West Virginia
Fourth round (No. 115 overall) Christian Miller, LB Alabama
Fifth round (No. 154 overall) Jordan Scarlett, RB Florida
Sixth round (No. 212 overall) Dennis Daley, OT South Carolina
Seventh round (No. 237 overall) Terry Godwin, WR Georgia

First round (No. 7 overall) Derrick Brown, DT Auburn
Second round (No. 38 overall) Yetur Gross-Matos, DE Penn State
Second round (No. 64 overall) Jeremy Chinn, S Southern Illinois
Fourth round (No. 113 overall) Troy Pride, Jr., CB Notre Dame
Fifth round (No. 152 overall) Kenny Robinson, Jr., S West Virginia
Sixth round (No. 184 overall) Bravvion Roy, DT Baylor
Seventh round (No. 221 overall) Stantley Thomas-Oliver III, CB Florida International