It’s not too soon for Panthers fans to dream about Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence in 2021

Carolina Panthers, NCAA Football

Trevor Lawrence has one more year left in Clemson but Carolina Panthers may want to tune in to get a look at the player who could be their next franchise quarterback.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence would have been the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft if he was eligible. He’ll definitely be the top pick in the 2021 draft when he is eligible, and it could be the Carolina Panthers who are the team lucky enough to get the prized prospect.

The Panthers are ushering in a new era with first-year head coach Matt Rhule and the roster is going to undergo a massive makeover over the next year. It’s already begun with the surprise retirement of All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly and the departure of Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen in free agency.

That’s just the beginning.

Cam Newton‘s future is in doubt as he attempts to recover from the injuries he’s endured. The team is committed to the former No. 1 pick and NFL MVP who led the team to a Super Bowl appearance, for now. It’s no lock he finishes the season healthy in Carolina. It’s no lock he returns to the type of player he was during his MVP season.

Newton’s time in Carolina has an expiration date.

With Carolina willing to rebuild, the team could be “Tanking for Trevor” if Newton is shelved and Kyle Allen and Will Grier are the team’s quarterbacks. New offensive coordinator Joe Brady helped Joe Burrow have the greatest season we’ve ever seen by a college quarterback last year at LSU, but he may be out of luck with this pair.

That will lead to it being a very long fall in Carolina where the Panthers.

OddsShark has the win totals for the Panthers at 6.5. Only the Dolphins, Bengals and Redskins have a lower total.

The Dolphins and Bengals may take a quarterback in the first round this year while the Redskins may too if they decide to move on after one year from 2019 first-rounder Dwayne Haskins. The Panthers are unlikely to take a quarterback with their No. 7 overall selection. The options there would be Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Utah State’s Jordan Love.

When those are the options, you try to be patient for Lawrence so that’ll leave Carolina as the worst team with the biggest need at quarterback.

Lawrence, who hails from Cartersville, Georgia, would be a consensus slam dunk pick from an on-field and off-field perspective for the Panthers.

Kirk Herbstreit told me last year, Lawrence is the best quarterback he’s seen since Andrew Luck and maybe even Peyton Manning. That’s pretty good company to be in.

Tanking is such a taboo word in sports. It may be a good philosophy of rebuilding a roster, even if the draft is an inexact science. But teams will take their chances with more picks at the top of the round.

Not every No. 1 pick is equal, but the 2021 No. 1 pick will be worth taking a season, saying goodbye to Newton and saying hello to Lawrence.

Next: Best college football QB’s of the 21st century

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