What could the Carolina Panthers get for the #1 overall pick in a trade, realistically

There have been two occasions in the last decade where the #1 overall pick was traded with the highest rated QB ultimately being selected. The first was in 2001 when Atlanta traded up to #1 from #4 overall to select Michael Vick, and in the same vein in 2004 Eli Manning was traded from San Diego to New York after he refused to play for the Chargers.

The 2011 draft at QB more closely resembles 2001 than 2004. There is the athletic QB with questions about his football IQ (Vick, Newton) and the spread offense QB with some concerns (Brees, Gabbert). This morning we'll look at both trades as they happened and what the Chargers got in both occasions. This should serve as a fairly good guideline for what we could get for the #1 pick, should the Panthers decide to trade and someone willing to move up for Cam Newton.

We'll look at these trades... after the jump

The 2001 trade

Michael Vick's college stats before entering the draft were mediocre at best... but he had so much upside, and seen as such a game changing athlete after the combine that he made his way to the top of the 2001 board. Ultimately San Diego didn't feel comfortable enough to make Vick their franchise QB, so they moved back and allowed Atlanta to trade up from #5 overall to #1. The package they received for this trade was: 

- Atlanta's 2001 #5 overall pick (LaDanian Tomlinson)

- Atlanta's 2001 3rd round pick

- Atlanta's 2002 2nd round pick 

- WR Tim Dwight (1998 4th round selection)

Diagnosis: I don't know if we would consider this a good trade without LaDanian Tomlinson becoming a future hall of fame running back. Important to note that San Diego took Drew Brees in the second round, only to select QB again in 2004. It's quite fascinating to extrapolate out and see what San Diego's roster would have looked like with Vick rather than Tomlinson, but I'll leave that up to you. 


The 2004 trade

The Manning family had some long standing issues with the San Diego Chargers organization, and as such Eli pulled a 'John Elway' entering the 2004 draft. Speaking for his son Archie Manning let the league know his son would not play for the Chargers and would be prepared to sit out the 2004 season. Pushed into a corner the Chargers called Archie's bluff, taking the Ole Miss QB and ultimately working out a trade with New York in sending Eli Manning to New York the Chargers received:

- QB Philip Rivers

- New York's 2004 3rd round pick (Nate Kaeding)

- New York's 2005 1st round pick (Shawn Merriman)

Diagnosis: It seemed like a risk at the time, but in the end San Diego made out like bandits. They got a franchise QB, a kicker and a dominant 3-4 OLB until Merriman was injured. San Diego made the wise decision in trading in this situation.


So what's realistic for the Carolina Panthers

I think what the Carolina Panthers could get in a trade would fall somewhere between the 2001 and 2004 deals. Cam Newton looks more NFL ready than Michael Vick was at the same time, while consensus in 2004 was that Eli was Peyton 2.0 and a lock to be a franchise QB.

Here are some scenario's for a top 10 team to move to #1:

- 2011 1st round pick, 2011 2nd round pick, 2012 3rd round pick (top 5 team)

- 2011 1st round pick, 2011 2nd round pick, 2011 3rd round pick, 2012 2nd round pick (Team picking 5-10)

As much as I'd like to say we could get a future 1st round pick from a team, realistically nobody is going to ostensibly trade two firsts for Cam Newton unless the stars align to where he's regarded in that Eli Manning, lock at #1 prospect. This seems unlikely, but if it comes out that Newton had a stellar wonderlic score then it could be possible.

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