CHARLOTTE, N.C. — ESPN's Mel Kiper caused quite the stir among Panthers fans when he released his latest mock draft on Thursday.
Kiper, a highly respected NFL draft expert, has the Panthers picking Mac Jones at No. 8. Jones is regarded by many draft experts as one of the top-five best quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL draft.
He helped lead Alabama to a national championship title this past January and was also a Heisman Trophy finalist. Jones was projected to be a mid- to late-first round draft pick, but in recent weeks, his stock has increased.
The Panthers could draft him at No. 8.
Here is the case for and against drafting Jones:
The case for Mac Jones
The case for Jones isn't quite so simple.
Although he's one of the five best quarterbacks in this draft, many people differ on where he should land. Some draft experts say picking him at No. 8 would be a reach. Others, like CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson, are high on Jones.
"I've talked to teams that think he's a top-10 pick," Wilson said. "And I've talked to folks close to the Alabama program that agree that he had a better final year at Alabama than Tua (Tagovailoa) before the hip injury."