I'm going to piggyback off of a post James put up a few days ago that included a decision tree on the Panthers #1 pick decision process. I thought it really did boil things down to a couple key philosophical questions about the Panther drafting decision process. I've taken his questions and answer paths and put them into a tree diagram. I'll then give detail on the path I think has the highest probability of materializing. Tree diagram and analysis after the jump...
As I said, props to James for thinking of this:
I love the first question and that is whether the Panthers are throwing up a major smoke screen or are they really in love with Cam Newton. I don't think it's a smoke screen as much as it is the local journalists reading too much into what the Panthers are doing during their evaluation. So I end up at Gabbert or Dareus, depending whether the Panthers go risky or safe.
But I do find it interesting that the local journalists like Darin Gantt are pretty sure its Newton whereas the national ones, who act like they have a direct line to Hurney, are picking Gabbert or one of the safe picks.
In general I think the Panthers go 'Risky' at all three places the question is asked. In both cases it leads you back to one of the QBs. That makes sense to me since QB is the high risk, high reward position.
If the Panthers take Peterson or Dareus, both good picks I agree, then they would be going the safe route. Going with the safe pick is more in line with what Panther GM Marty Hurney has done in the past, outside of dealing away future picks. In that regard he has rolled the dice with mixed results at best. I do like the fact the safest pick is AJ Green instead of Patrick Peterson if you think the Panthers are smoke screening everyone.
One last comment, I think I would replace Ryan Mallet with WR Julio Jones. If the Panthers should trade back past the top 5 the best offensive player on the board is Jones. In that event though you would have be sure the Panthers garner a 2nd round pick. That pick could be used to get a QB like Christian Ponder or Andy Dalton. Talk about a jolt to the offense. To get Jones in the first and Ponder or Dalton in the 2nd? Plus added picks if not a 2012 1st rounder.