2021 NFL Mock Draft 3.0: Miami Dolphins trade back again

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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2021 NFL Mock Draft
Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports /

2021 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

8. Carolina Panthers: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

In this NFL mock draft, the Panthers could not make an offer to move up for one of the four top quarterbacks. Instead, they settle for Alabama football’s Mac Jones, which is a heck of a consolation prize.

Some believe Mac Jones will be drafted by the 49ers. If not, he will fall past the Lions. Without another trade, the Panters are poised to take him with their first pick.

Carolina will be aggressive, but they also like Mac Jones. Matt Rhule spoke highly of him at the Senior Bowl, and the Panthers have more intel on Jones than any other franchise in the NFL.

Carolina has a decent offensive line, a dynamic running back and quality receivers. It’s not a perfect landing spot for Mac Jones, but it could be a lot worse. If he goes to Carolina, he will have quality weapons and a competent coaching staff. That’s more than he would have in Detroit or New York.

The Panthers have been trying to land Deshaun Watson, but he likely won’t be traded until off-the-field issues are settled. Since they can’t rely on that, Carolina must choose between sticking with Teddy Bridgewater or drafting Mac Jones. Since they have been clearly active in the quarterback market, I find it hard to believe they will run it back with Bridgewater for a whole season.

In this NFL mock draft scenario, the Panthers would stick with Bridgewater until Jones proves that he is ready to be the starter. They could then put him in the mix during the 2020-21 season.