I've been debating for a while now how likely the Panthers are to once again move up in this years draft by trading the 2011 first round draft. My first reaction has been there's no way they'll do that again. But the more thought I put into it I came up with a very good reason why they would make a similar trade. First lets examine what they gave up and what they received in the last two drafts.
In 2008 the Panthers drafted Jeff Otah by trading with Philadelphia. The Panthers gave up their 2008 second (#43) and fourth (#109) round picks and their 2009 first round pick. The previous year the Panthers ranked 24th in yards per rushing attempt at 3.8. Our offensive line consisted of LT Travelle Wharton, LG Mike Whale, C Justin Hartwig, RG Jeremy Bridges, and RT Jordan Gross). Otah was immediately plugged in as the starter at RT in the completely revamped line and in 2009 ranked 10th with an average of 4.4 yards per rush attempt.
In the 2009 draft the Panthers drafted Everette Brown and Mike Goodson by trading with San Francisco. The Panthers gave up their 2010 first round pick to obtained San Francisco's 2009 second (#43) and fourth (#111) round picks. Their impact hasn't been as apparent as Otah's. Goodson proved to have ball control issues and if those aren't resolved he will be a bust. Brown on the other hand still has more potential. In his rookie season with limited playing time he had 3 QB sacks, 7 QB hits, 13 QB pressures, 2 batted passes, and 14 tackles. This was while playing only 41% of the defensive snaps (another time maybe I'll get in to comparing his performance against other DE but that's beyond the scope of this post).
So far I'd say the 2008 trade was worth it, but the jury is still out on last years trade but leaning towards positive. But does it mean they would do it again?
Fox and Hurney always like to say that every option is always on the table. With that in mind under the right scenario and player availability in the draft it could be argued they would be willing to once again trade a future 1st rounder away. I would also guess it's not always their first option, but is a possibility.
However, the more I thought about it I think there is one additional fact that increases said possibility and that is the looming 2011 lockout. With the possibility of no football in 2011, while a draft will occur, you will draft a player that won't play for a whole year. Provided a 2012 season takes place that will be two draft classes that you have to determine if they will make the roster without seeing any on the field play. If they traded away the 2011 1st rounder you could potentiality get a extra year of that player.
Do I think they will trade the 2011 first rounder away? Not likely. Is it possible? Definitely, and if they do and there is a NFL lockout, a strong argument could be make that it was a shrewd move.