Draft Headquarters began three years ago as a scouting, evaluataion and mock draft site and since then lead writer Shawn Zobel's record speaks for itself. He has accurately predicted more 1st round picks than either Mel Kiper or Todd McShay, and at this point it is accepted among NFL insiders that he does have sources and connections around the league.
It's surprising, however, that Zobel would offer up as much information as he did last night over his Twitter feed that tipped the hand of numerous teams. Sure, perhaps this could all be a stunt to drum up website hits or expand his brand- but if he's not being truthful it's a big risk to take. Furthermore, everything could all be smokescreen... we just don't know.
After the jump I'll give you what Zobel has said, and we can discuss everything and what it means for the Panthers.
Tip of the hat to BSkincaid for bringing this to my attention via Twitter
Let's start with what Zobel said that directly relates to the Panthers:
- Carolina have no interest in QB Blaine Gabbert with the #1 pick. If Gabbert goes #1 overall it will be because the Panthers traded the pick. Currently 4/5 teams in the top 5 want to take a QB. Carolina and Buffalo are set on Cam Newton, while Cincinnati and Arizona have Blaine Gabbert at the top of their board.
- The Panthers are interested in trading out of the #1 spot for the right price, and Zobel puts the Panthers' chances of moving out at 50/50. If Carolina were able to trade out they would not be able to get either QB, and Newton would go to Buffalo and Gabbert to either Cincinnati or Arizona. He believes it would take a big offer to move the Panthers out of #1.
Now we'll move on to areas that are superfluous, but still effect our organization:
- There is an 80-85% chance Denver will trade out of the #2 spot, and there is a bidding war between Cincinnati and Arizona to see how can move up and get Gabbert. If this is the case, one wonders if either side will up their offer, go straight to Carolina and bypass the whole process.
- The Minnesota Vikings plan to take the BPA at #12 overall, but will do what it takes to trade back into the 1st round and get QB Ryan Mallett.
- The Washington Redskins at #10 have Gabbert and Locker at the top of their board at QB. Washington could trade up for Gabbert, but don't be surprised if they take Locker at #10.
- New England could make a big move and try to move into the top 10 to acquire either Von Miller or A.J. Green.
So there we have it. It's certainly a lot to digest, but if this is accurate then we get a very, very good idea what we could be looking at. There appears to be trade potential at #1 from numerous angles;:
- CIN or ARZ could move up for Gabbert
- Buffalo (who Zobel says "Cam Newton is by far Buffalo's #1 guy") could try and buy Newton from the Panthers.
- Washington could try and leapfrog everyone if they like Gabbert enough
What appears shocking though is just how much the QBs are now looking like they'll fly off the board. Zobel is essentially predicting that Newton and Gabbert will be top 3 picks, Locker a top 10 pick and Mallett gone before the end of the 1st round.