6 NFL Players We Want To See In The Playoffs Next Year

<6 NFL Players We Want To See In The Playoffs Next Year>

Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

If this were a mock draft, we would be exploring the trades down the Carolina Panthers could make with their top-10 pick (currently No. 6 after Week 17), giving them a stockpile of selections that they desperately need.

And Carolina will most certainly do that if it doesn't find a quarterback or offensive linemen to its liking that early.

But we're looking specifically at individual players who can turn franchises around in 2021, and given the Panthers' two big needs on offense, there's no question hitting on a quarterback in this draft would change their fortunes in a big way. 

There has been much ado about the weakness of this year's quarterback class. After we saw signal-callers go 1-2-3 overall in 2021, we may only see one in the entire top 10 in 2022.

But even teams that swear they don't draft for need will reach for a QB come draft day; the position is too crucial to leave solely to free agency. The Panthers could have selected Justin Fields or Mac Jones in 2021; instead, they went all-in on Sam Darnold (and, in a tragicomedy, re-signed Cam Newton).

Now, Matt Rhule's coaching future in Carolina may rest on the position. 

Kenny Pickett may not be the first quarterback off the board, but he's a good fit for the Panthers. B/R's big board lists him as the most pro-ready quarterback in this class, which would enable the Panthers to start him his rookie season. 

And as the Charlotte Observer's Scott Fowler pointed out, Pickett "orchestrated more touchdowns in Bank of America Stadium than any other Panther QB has this fall" as he threw for two and rushed for another. Of course, we can't compare college defenses to NFL defenses; the point is more that Panthers fans got a glimpse of the excitement and dynamism Pickett could bring to their home stadium in 2022 and beyond with his poise and mobility. 

Moreover, the Pittsburgh product had committed to Rhule at Temple, and Rhule has demonstrated his interest in adding players with whom he shares familiarity.

Ahead of the 2021 season, NFL Research pointed out Rhule had brought in nine players whom he'd previously coached during his tenures at Temple and Baylor. 

The Panthers still may go the free-agency route to land their quarterback of the present, if not the future; but Carolina's future continues to hang in the balance absent a franchise signal-caller.   

Source : https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2952115-2022-nfl-draft-players-who-can-turn-franchises-around-next-year

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