Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman both loathes and loves picking eighth in the first round of the NFL draft.
Drafting this high means the Panthers are coming off a lousy season following playoff berths during Gettleman’s first three years in Charlotte.
Yet the longtime scout and personnel director knows the Panthers are going to be in position to take an impact player Thursday when it’s their turn to pick.
There has been another round of rumors that the Panthers are looking to trade up for San Francisco’s No. 2 overall selection – presumably for Stanford edge rusher Solomon Thomas or LSU running back Leonard Fournette.
But Gettleman’s comments, as well as input from team sources, seemed to quash the possibility that the Panthers will trade up.
“Sitting at eight’s weird. I’ve never done it before as a GM. There’s going to be some really good players looking at us,” Gettleman said last week during a pre-draft press conference. “For us to trade up in the first round, we’re going to have to give up a two or a three. And in this draft, do we really want to do that? These are rhetorical questions. These are things I have to consider.
“Time will tell. You’ve seen that I’ll move up. So we’ll see.”
Gettleman’s history of moves
Gettleman traded up last year to take cornberback Daryl Worley in the third round. He gave up a total of five picks in two separate deals during the 2015 draft to move up and grab wide receiver Devin Funchess in the second round and offensive lineman Daryl Williams in the fourth.
And in 2014 Gettleman worked out a third-day deal with Minnesota to get former cornerback Bené Benwikere in the fifth round.
But Gettleman has never moved up in the first round – a transaction that would take more capital.
Gettleman said he thought he’d have to give up a second- or third-round pick, but it could take a second and a third.
Last year Philadelphia pulled off the trade with Cleveland in the exact scenario the Panthers are rumored to be mulling.
The Eagles sent the No. 8 pick along with four other picks – a third and a fourth in 2016, a first-round selection in ’17 and a second-round pick in ’18 – to slide up six spots and take Carson Wentz at No. 2. (Philadelphia also got a fourth-round selection in ’17 from Cleveland.)
Granted, the asking price probably was a little higher because the Browns’ front office knew the Eagles were gunning for a franchise quarterback. Still, it would not be cheap.
Could it happen?
The Panthers have the picks to make it happen, including four in the first 98 selections.
And maybe it was smoke to mask his true intentions, but Gettleman last week sounded like a guy who was giddy about the Panthers’ early positioning. He compared it to going into a couple of ice cream parlors.
“This is a good draft. Man, I’m telling you, this is the full Ben and Jerry, Howard Johnson’s (28) flavors. There’s a real variety of talents and skills, interesting mixes and matches,” Gettleman said.
“This is a heck of a draft to have a lot of early picks. And frankly, the back end of the draft has some interesting characters. It’s a solid draft.”