Latest PFF mock draft doesn’t have the Carolina Panthers taking a quarterback

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Jonathan M. Alexander
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Pro Football Focus released its latest mock draft Monday and has the Carolina Panthers picking Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. The Panthers own the No. 8 pick in the 2021 draft.

The Panthers need a pass-catching tight end, and Pitts would fill that need.

But they also need a quarterback, a three-technique defensive tackle, a linebacker, a cornerback, an offensive tackle and an offensive guard. The Panthers will likely look to free agency for some of their defensive needs, but expect them to target offense early in the draft.

Quarterback Trey Lance, who some draft experts believe could potentially be a franchise quarterback, is projected to go No. 7 to the Detroit Lions, according to PFF. The Lions reportedly plan to move on from quarterback Matt Stafford, a former No. 1 pick.

Last week, PFF projected Lance to go to the Panthers.

Quarterback Mac Jones is expected to go No. 21 to the Indianapolis Colts.

Florida tight end Kyle Pitts (84).
Florida tight end Kyle Pitts (84).

Pitts, though, is one of the best prospects in this year’s draft. He had 43 catches for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games during the 2020 season. He had one of his best games against Alabama when he had seven catches for 129 yards and a touchdown.

“People get kind off skittish with the tight end thing ... but if you watch him play, he looks more like DK Metcalf than he does (Rob Gronkowski),” Eric Edholm, a draft expert and writer for Yahoo! Sports, said. “Even though they lined him up in line, he was running vertical routes, and he was winning like a wide receiver would win.”

“Boy, you’d love to have that guy. I just think he’s special.”

Panthers coach Matt Rhule has said that he would like to get younger on offense after taking seven defensive players in the 2020 draft.

New Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said his philosophy is to building teams on both sides of the line, adding “At my core, quarterback, offensive line, defensive line is where it’s going to start.”