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April 28, 2014

Should the Panthers trade up in this year's draft?

Before I started my mock draft that ran in Sunday’s paper, I had no clue what player I would send to the Panthers. After completing the Saints pick at No. 27, I still didn’t know.

Kelvin Benjamin makes sense at 28, but the overwhelming thought I had as I went from the teens into the 20s and finally to 28 was, should the Panthers trade up?

Here’s the issue: The Panthers top two needs are offensive tackle and wide receiver. You can get talented guys at both positions in this draft because it’s deep, but can you get top-tier talent in the first round at either position?

That’s a worry for the Panthers. Tackles Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews are the top two tackles, and they’ll be gone by the seventh pick. But some mock drafts have Taylor Lewan falling (the Observer had him at 17 to the Ravens) and tackle Zack Martin should be gone by 20 (he’s at 19 to the Dolphins).

Then there are the wide receivers. Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans are in a class all their own and should be taken in the top 10. But Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandin Cooks could be there in the late-teens to early-20s.

When it comes to first-round tackle, an NFL GM must ask himself if that player, who inevitably will start on the right side of the line, can at some point be a left tackle. It appears the Panthers are bearish on the remaining tackles at the end of the first round and may use a second- or third-round pick on that position.

While Benjamin could eventually be the player teams envision with his combination of size, strength and speed, he’s still raw with only two years of major college football experience. There’s no guarantee he’ll have an immediate impact like Vikings’ Cordarrelle Patterson, who had one year of major college football experience and was picked 29th in last year’s draft.

So what are the trade options for Carolina to ensure a top-tier player at one of the two positions? Going through the draft, the team that stood out the most to me was Pittsburgh at No. 15. The Steelers need a cornerback, receiver and tackle, but if corner is their top need, they can go down to the late-20s and pick up a guy like TCU’s Jason Verrett or Virginia Tech’s Kyle Fuller.

A trade from 28 to 15 would require the Panthers giving up something obviously. A look at recent history shows the Panthers would probably have to give up a third-round pick (and maybe a later round since Carolina picks since it would be a late third-rounder) in order to move up 13 spots.

Last year the 49ers traded their 31st overall pick and the third-round pick (74th overall, and actually the Panthers’ pick before trading it away) to the Cowboys for Dallas’ 18th overall selection. San Francisco selected safety Eric Reed.

In 2012 the Patriots traded their 27th overall pick and the third-round selection (93rd overall) to the Bengals for Cincinnati’s 21st overall selection. New England turned that pick into defensive end Chandler Jones.

It should be noted it's not easy to give up draft picks. If your team's goal is the have a strong foundation with its key parts and build around that foundation through the draft--which has been the Panthers' plan--then giving up draft picks doesn't exactly jive with that.

There's no indication yet the Panthers are willing to trade up, according to a source, and this weekend it was re-emphasized the team will take the best player available. But that player could be a lot better if the Panthers can execute a trade.

--Jonathan Jones

Posted by Observer Sports on April 28, 2014 at 09:12 AM | Permalink


Haven't we had enough of trading away valuable picks to move up?? No... this draft is very deep and there is very good talent that will be available in rounds 2 through 5.

Why trade away those valuable picks? That's why sports writers don't make good GMs :-)

Posted by: Frank | Apr 28, 2014 9:41:33 AM

Good things can happen being patient. Star is a perfect example. Lets see if another top talent falls to us.

Posted by: CankerWorm | Apr 28, 2014 9:53:35 AM

We don't need to trade at all. I think we are in good positions to get very good guys. Get a WR in the first, OT in the second, and I think we can get a good CB in the third. So I wouldn't trade at all.

Posted by: Raynaldo Caver | Apr 28, 2014 10:08:10 AM

CO really needs a new editor.. the end of this article read like a 4th grader rushing through his report to go play outside.

Posted by: dwayne | Apr 28, 2014 10:13:53 AM

Release the Kraken!!!

Posted by: The Kraken | Apr 28, 2014 10:16:04 AM

PLEASE stop saying the Panthers need a WR. They don't. Skill positions are SO overrated. Do you guys watch the games? It doesn't matter who you have at WR if you can't protect the QB. It doesn't matter who you have at RB is there are no holes. The Panthers need OL. Everything else is a DISTANT second. They should probably draft and/or trade for about 6 different OL, just in hopes that a couple work out.

Posted by: Del Home | Apr 28, 2014 10:35:11 AM

O-dell!!! O-dell!!! O-dell!!!

Posted by: RonRivera | Apr 28, 2014 10:42:55 AM

The Kraken is spot on. Success starts at the line of scrimmage.

Posted by: tunaback | Apr 28, 2014 10:52:55 AM

If anything trade back and pick up an extra pick somewhere, hopefully at the top of the 2nd. Not sure if that's a possibility, but if these QB's fall and a team wants one of them at 28, so be it.

Posted by: Mike W | Apr 28, 2014 10:53:25 AM

Mike W I agree in taking a QB later like Aaron Murray or Bren Renner as Anderson is getting older and we have no backup plan If Cam takes a step back and DG wants to opt out after next year. The OT is the BIG concern right now along with CB a WR is a deep position this year and can be had in the 4th or so.

Posted by: Panthers1995 | Apr 28, 2014 11:16:29 AM

@ Panthers1995 you mean when Cam CAN be a legit #1 QB!..Last year the D carried the team and I'm not sold on him yet as his accuracy is so so at best like the 49'er game last year!

Posted by: QB | Apr 28, 2014 11:19:33 AM

QB I agree he can't seem to make THE throw at the critical time to get the win vs a playoff caliber team so Gettleman needs to pick a QB at some point in the draft and Aaron Murray would be a nice QB to groom.

Posted by: Nick Satan | Apr 28, 2014 11:22:53 AM

Trade Hardy for picks or no trade. Picking Benjamin in the Top 50 would be a HUGE mistake. We need a player who can make an impact THIS YEAR. I think he could start in his third year, maybe his second if his only competition is Cotchery. But I'd rather trade out of the first than take Benjamin.

Posted by: Gabe | Apr 28, 2014 11:32:46 AM

WE NEED A MIDDLE LINEBACKER!! Draft that, a kicker in 2, a QB in 3, and RBs the rest of the draft.

Posted by: IMakeNoSense | Apr 28, 2014 1:03:50 PM

Do you guys remember New England and New Orleans Cam last minute drives .DEFENSE DID NOT CARRY TEAM

Posted by: MALCOLM | Apr 28, 2014 1:28:53 PM

"Going through the draft, the team that stood out the most to me was Pittsburgh at No. 15. The Steelers need a cornerback, receiver and tackle[.]"

Hmmmmm. Sounds a lot like another team I know. Having said that, why would they trade down when they're in the spot the Panthers would want?

Posted by: Jeff Otah | Apr 28, 2014 1:51:44 PM

There is always talk of trading up, but never trading down. Which is the more likely scenario IMO.

Gettleman is no Marty Hurnia, he's not going to treat his draft picks like charity and donate them around the league like Hurney did.

Also there is the Patriots effect. The Panthers pick one spot in front of NE and every GM in the league is terrified of the Patriots taking a player they want (see Hurney, Armanti Edwards, worst trade up ever). With NE bringing in basically every QB out there I can see some team at the top of the 2nd round panicking and throwing the Panthers a really great offer to trade back w/ them in order to take a QB.

Just my .02 cents.

Posted by: Larry | Apr 28, 2014 2:07:50 PM

We should draft Aaron Murray in the second just to stick it to Sean Payton and the Aints. You know they see him as the next Breese

Posted by: eATiT | Apr 28, 2014 2:36:13 PM

If Mr. Gettleman traded up it would be for an offensive tackle.

Posted by: Mark Colone | Apr 28, 2014 4:38:54 PM

Yep....for SteveSmith and a QB.

Posted by: M | Apr 28, 2014 5:40:13 PM

Before you started your "mock draft" in Sunday's paper??? What that your little teaser article that did nothing but end with the "and they take..." cliffhanger? Do you guys even know what a "news article" actually is?

Posted by: Sam Vimes | Apr 28, 2014 6:02:24 PM

Hog Mollies 1st round and 2nd round because Bell ain't the answer. Take a hog in the third as well because if you can't run the ball or protect the QB, a WR is irrelevant. If a quality hog is not available in the 3rd round, find a CB, or S,or SS that can help us.

Posted by: PSL | Apr 29, 2014 9:48:22 AM

Take Adams (WR) in the first, Matthews (WR) in the second and then a CB in the third. Then o-linemen the rest of the way - with maybe a RB in there somewhere.

If we draft Arron Murray then we will end up letting him or Cam walk in two years. Murray is the best QB in this draft and we can't expect him to sit behind Cam forever. We have Joe Webb and Derrick Anderson and both are fine backups. Anderson has several years left on him.

Posted by: Dom | Apr 29, 2014 11:09:44 AM

The Panthers should trade DOWN in the draft, pick up extra picks and use them to fortify their Receiving Corps, their O-Line, and their Defensive Secondary. There is NO ONE worthy of staying at the 28th pick in this 2014 NFL Draft that you cannot find at the top of the 2nd Round.

Posted by: Buh Bye Bobcats! | Apr 29, 2014 12:15:15 PM


Posted by: Larry | Apr 29, 2014 4:26:31 PM

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