There is a lot of speculation as to whether the Panthers will trade out of the #1 in order to obtain more picks if given the opportunity. Considering the Panthers have a number of holes to plug I'm thinking they would prefer to make some type of move to pick up some additional early round picks.
There are two key assumptions that this scenario hinges on. The first assumption is, as some on this site have suggested, is that certain teams must fall in love with a trio of key players that I am going to predict really make hay at the combine. The players I'm predicting to make this rise are DE Da'Quan Bowers and either QB Blaine Gabbert or QB Cam Newton. I'm hedging on which one because the real issue is the position. Teams will typically only pay such a heavy price for a QB, a RB or a pass rusher. At least that's what I'm basing this scenario on.
The second assumption is that the only real trade candidates for the Panthers are those in the top 7 picks. Beyond that the price just gets high for even the most spend happy owner. So that said here it goes:
Wild Scenario Phase 1:
We have Denver and then Buffalo picking #2 and #3 respectively. Both teams have decent offenses but horrid defenses that need stars up front on the defensive line. Buffalo already has Kyle Williams at DT so they really need an edge rusher. Enter Bowers as he wows the Bills with his proto-typical size and measurables at the combine. Buffalo knows new Broncos HC John Fox would love to repeat history and get Bowers at #2 ala Peppers in '02. If they sit still both Failey and Bowers will be gone. So the Bills make the deal to get to #1 and take Bowers and the Panthers pick up their #34 and a pick in 2012.
Denver on the other hand doesn't see Fairley as a fit to their 3-4 as a NG or a DE and will instead use a later round pick for the DL. Though they also love AJ Green they did just draft a WR in the 1st round last year, Demarius Thomas. So instead they grab CB Patrick Peterson at #2. So at this point the Panthers could take Fairley at #3 and pick up another need at #34 (discussed later).
But Panthers GM Marty Hurney is not done here. No, that #3 pick will be even easier to move than the #1. As much as the Panthers might love Fairley the chance to still get a great player in the top 10 and add yet another 2nd round pick (and more) is too much.
Phase 2 of this scenario...after the jump.
Here's where the two QB's come into to play. We have three teams in the top 7 who should be looking to add a QB early: Bengals #4, Cardinals #5 and 49ers at #7. Per my first assumption let's assume they all fall in love with one of those two, Gabbert or Newton. But know knows which one each covets and it drives them nuts. Either the Cardinals or 49ers feel they need to get in front of the Bengals and offer their pick plus their 2nd rounder and a pick or two in 2012.
Wild Scenario Phase 2 Option 1:
The Cardinals trade up with the Panthers to #3 and give up their #38 and picks in 2012. Let's say they select Newton since the bonus motivation here is the need for ticket sales in Phoenix, something a guy like Newton guarantees. With their target QB gone the Bengals now go with the BPA which is WR AJ Green, who gives the Bengals a much needed WR that doesn't have a big mouth.
Again, Though being a 3-4 4-3 team the Bengals still pass on Fairley just at the Broncos did.
The Panthers can now again select DT Nick Fairley, but at #5 instead.
Wild Scenario Phase 2 Option 2:
Instead of the Cardinals trading up its the 49ers who offer the better package of picks. The Panthers get their #7 plus #45, #76 & a pick in 2012. The 49ers take Newton instead at #3. In this scenario the Bengals still take Green and then the Cardinals take either LB Von Miller or DT Marcell Dareus, who is better suited as a 3-4 DE. Let's say its Miller since its hard to justify taking Dareus over Fairley. Besides, the Cardinals need more help at LB than the DL anyway with Docket and Okoye up front.
So now it gets sticky with Cleveland at #6. It's hard to think they would pass on Fairley at this point and so in order to keep this speculation even slightly credible I'll say Cleveland takes Fairley at #6 in the bargain of the top 10.
Yet now the Panthers find themselves at #7 with the following players on the board to pick from: DT Marcell Dareus (if he fits a 4-3), CB Prince Amukamara or even the QB Blaine Gabbert if they are sold on him. My thought is the Panthers grab the CB and look to add a DT in a draft deep at DT.
So here's how the draft plays out for picks 1-7 using the Phase 2 Option 2 scenario:
#1 - Bowers to the Bills
2 - Peterson to Broncos
3 -Newton to 49ers
4 - Green to Bengals
5 - Miller to Cardinals
6 - Fairley to Browns
7 - Amukamara to Panthers (or whoever you think is a better pick)
In addition the Panthers added the following picks:
#34 -DT Phil Taylor or WR Jonathan Baldwin or OG/C Stefan Wisneiski
#38 or #45 - TE Kyle Rudolph
# 76 - DT Jarvis Jenkins
All that on top of our remaining selections. So what do you think? Is this just too wild?