Getting Deshaun Watson this offseason would be the ultimate prize for the Carolina Panthers if they could somehow convince the Houston Texans to trade for him.
But if they can’t, there are a couple of realistic quarterback options who could be available with the No. 8 pick in the 2021 NFL draft, draft experts say.
The Observer contacted two draft experts in separate calls — Jordan Reid of Draft Network and Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports — to get their perspectives on North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Alabama’s Mac Jones. These experts agreed on nearly everything.
Both believe Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson and Ohio State’s Justin Fields will be off the board by the time the Panthers pick at No. 8.
However, Lance and Jones likely will be available.
Reid, a former starting quarterback at North Carolina Central, said Lance is a player worthy of a top-15 pick, and he doesn’t think the Panthers should pass up on him if he’s available.
He said with the exception of the one game in 2020, what Lance showed in his 17 games at NDSU was “phenomenal.”
Lance gained a lot of attention in 2019 after he threw for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns without throwing an interception. He also ran for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns, and helped lead the Bison to a 16-0 record. He played in only one game in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. He struggled in that game, completing 15-of-30 passes for 149 yards, two touchdowns and his first career interception.