I was sitting in front of my computer, scanning through some comments on a recent post here on CSR, when it finally hit me. There is someone in this draft that I've been overlooking, and for obvious reasons. However, I've begun to reconsider this position because of the far-reaching benefits that would result if the Panthers were bold enough to pick him. This draft selection would instantly produce vehement passion throughout our loyal fan base because of the certain consequence that would follow: The trade of a beloved player. I will admit that I have my own reservations about these moves, but what could be gained in return, may very well be worth the painful price. These moves and what they would mean for the Panthers after the jump.
This draft pick would apply whether we picked him at 8/9 or in a trade back scenario. His name is Trent Richardson. Have you heard of him? Of course you have. He is widely viewed as the best RB in the draft because of his rare mixture of size, speed, and strength. So what? Every fan with any knowledge of the Panthers knows that we have two studs at the RB position already, which gives us little reason to draft a RB, no matter how good he may project to be. But let me explain my admittedly hesitant position.
Most of us realize that Deangelo, the elder statesman in Double Trouble, has, for all intents and purposes, very little trade value. That leads us to the younger, more popular Jonathan Stewart. He, in fact, does have great trade value, even in this day and age when more RB gems can be mined in later rounds than most any other position. RBs have seemingly become an afterthought in today's ever-evolving passing attacks. While it's true that a RB's value has dipped to an all-time low, that doesn't mean that the position will just fade into obscurity. One dynamic RB can be a game-changer. Two dynamic RB's can re-invent the value of the position with a little ingenuity and creativity. We had a taste of this with our own innovative offensive coordinator, "Chud", and I only see this expanding over the next season or two(provided he stays at least another year).
The bottom line is this: I am suggesting that we pick Trent Richardson and then trade Jonathan Stewart for a 1st or 2nd round pick. Let's take a look at what this would provide us(in no particular order).
1. It's no guarantee, but I believe there would be little, to no drop off at the position if the Panthers did, indeed, make this move. In fact, Richardson is younger and has the ability to become an even more viable option than Jonathan Stewart.
2. We all know that a large sum of money will be required to re-sign Jonathan Stewart. Simply put, drafting Richardson would allow us to save precious cap space, a commodity in and of itself.
3. We would add an extra pick to our draft-day arsenal, which would give the Panthers even more cards to play with.
The obvious pink elephant in the room is the popularity of Jonathan Stewart, and the backlash that would sweep across the fan base after learning that he had been traded. Of course, the writing would have already been on the wall if we did, indeed, draft Trent Richardson. Even though it wouldn't be a popular move among the fan base, it would certainly be prudent. What I'm basically asking is this: Is your love for Stewart worth more than the combined benefit of having a younger, cheaper option in Richardson and the extra early round pick? To be frank, I'm not even sure I've even convinced myself at this point, but I'm very curious what my fellow Panther fans think of such a move. Just let me know what you think in the poll and the comment thread below.