Inside the Panthers

Could Carolina Panthers trade out of NFL draft’s first round?

Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman has made three draft-day trades in three years with the franchise. Could he trade out of Thursday’s first round?
Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman has made three draft-day trades in three years with the franchise. Could he trade out of Thursday’s first round? AP

Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman has shown a willingness to use any means necessary to improve his roster – from trades to waiver claims to signing semi-retired veterans off their couches with the Panthers in the midst of a 15-win regular season.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that Gettleman indicated last week he would consider trading out of the first round to gain an extra pick or more in later rounds.

The Panthers pick 30th in Thursday night’s first round, and a couple of teams traded back from similar spots in recent years.

In 2014 the reigning Super Bowl-champion Seahawks traded the 32nd pick to Minnesota, which used it to draft quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. In exchange, the Vikings sent Seattle the 40th (second round) and 108th (fourth round) selections.

The Vikings made a similar move up in 2013, dealing their second-, third-, fourth and seventh-round picks to New England to acquire the 29th overall pick (with which they took Cordarrelle Patterson). The Patriots received a bigger haul than Seattle because they traded further back into the second round, to the 52nd overall pick.

In his first three years with the Panthers, Gettleman made three draft-day trades. All involved the Panthers trading up:

▪  In 2014 he swapped fifth-round picks with Minnesota and threw in a seventh-round pick to move up to take cornerback Bené Benwikere. (The Vikings, who have been active draft-day dealers, have the 54th overall pick in the second round this year.)

▪  Gettleman made two moves last year, dealing a second, third and a sixth to St. Louis to grab wide receiver Devin Funchess and sending a fourth, fifth and seventh to Oakland to move up in the fourth for offensive tackle Daryl Williams.

But this would seem to be a good year to trade back.

A number of team officials and draft experts called this one of the deepest drafts in recent memory. So getting an extra third- or fourth-round pick would be beneficial for the Panthers, who besides obvious needs such as cornerback and an edge rusher wouldn’t mind picking up a tight end, a running back and a safety.

But there are a couple of tradeoffs.

Giving up a first-round pick means giving up the fifth-year club option that goes with it. That option, which is tied to first-round players only, allows teams to lock up young talent for an additional year at a relatively reasonable salary.

Gettleman conceded last week it would be hard for him to give up a fifth-year option.

Another thing to consider: Since the NFL moved to a three-day draft format in 2010, teams now have all day Friday to mull their second-day options and potentially swing a trade.

In other words, unless the Panthers acquire the first pick of the second round, another team could potentially vault past them and draft the player Gettleman and his scouts wanted.

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