CHARLOTTE – The Panthers have had to settle for the eighth pick in the past.
And it worked out pretty well for them.
With the 2020 season in the books, the Panthers now know where they fall in the 2021 NFL Draft order.
After Washington's win over Philadelphia in the final game of the regular season, the Panthers slotted into the eighth overall pick. Had the Eagles won, the Panthers would have picked seventh.
The Jaguars locked up the first pick (and presumably Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence) a week ago. The Jets will pick second, followed by the Dolphins (who own the Texans' first-rounder from last year's trade for left tackle Laremy Tunsil).
With the eighth overall pick in 2017, the Panthers took running back Christian McCaffrey, and that spot has been good to them in past years as well.
The 2003 NFL Draft yielded left tackle Jordan Gross, and in 1996 they took running back Tshimanga Biakabutuka in that spot.
Picking that high could give them a chance at one of the top quarterbacks this year, though they could easily justify other positions as well.
The Panthers have a pick in each of the first six rounds. Their seventh-rounder belongs to Buffalo from the 2018 trade for offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse.
They could still add a compensatory pick later this offseason when the final draft order is announced.