It was the Spring of 2007. You remember that draft, right? Hurney shrewdly exchanged the Panthers' #14 first round pick for the Jets' #25th(1st), 59th(2nd), and 164th(5th-LB Tim Shaw-still making a living as one of the better special team players in the NFL). Ultimately, most of you know that future Pro Bowlers, Jon Beason and Ryan Kalil (All-Pro), were chosen with those first two picks, and the rest is history. Of course, the Jets took a very talented Darrelle Revis with pick #14, but I'd take that two for one any day, and I'll gladly do it again in 2013 if the right opportunity presents itself.
Before I get started, allow me to put this disclaimer out there: I know trading back can be a sore subject for many of you because it rarely occurs. However, keep this in mind as you continue to read: All it takes is for one 2012 playoff team to believe that they are only one player at one specific position away from winning it all, and that one player won't be available with their first pick. For the purpose of my first 2013 Carolina Panthers' mock draft, that team is the Seattle Seahawks.
Can you imagine what Pete Caroll was thinking as the Atlanta Falcons calmly marched down the field to score the winning points against his Seahawks? Maybe he was wondering why his team was unable to register a single sack throughout the entire game. Perhaps he was befuddled as to why his vaunted defense looked so pedestrian against an average Falcons offensive line. Could the answer be found in the 2013 draft? What if LSU's Barkevious Mingo, Oregon's Dion Jordan, or BYU's Ezekial Ansah were still on the board at 14. Do you think that one of those players would be enough for Carroll and the Seahawks to jump? I'm not sure, but I'm counting on deja vu to make this dream draft scenario possible.
**The Seattle Seahawks trade their **25th(1st), **56th(2nd), and **151st(5th) picks to the Carolina Panthers in order to acquire the 14th overall selection**
**1st(25)**: CB Desmond Trufant 6'0" Washington
Conventional wisdom says that Chris Gamble will be a cap casualty. Enter Trufant, who is perhaps the best cover corner in the draft. Some might reject the strategy of drafting a defensive player somewhere other than the front four, but a cornerback of Trufant's caliber will give our defensive line that extra second to wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks.
2nd(44): WR DeAndre Hopkins 6'1" 195 lbs Clemson
Honestly, I will be surprised if Hopkins is available here because he possesses many of the tools that represent what a #1 NFL receiver brings to the table. He is an above-average route runner who has excellent quickness in and out of his breaks, both of which allowed him to gain separation all over the field. One of the more intriguing details about Hopkins is the fact that he, like Kuechly last year, will still be 20 years old when his name gets called on draft day(6/6/1992). Hopkins will not only be excellent insurance should the Panthers let Lafell test the free agent waters after next season, but he also has the potential to take over Smitty's #1 spot in a couple of years.
**2nd(56)**: OG Larry Warford 6'3" 333 lbs Kentucky
If you, as a fan of the Panthers, have any desire for the Panthers to get back to the power run game, then Warford is your guy. Just plug him in at right guard beside Byron Bell and they would potentially become one of the more devastating run blocking duos in the NFL. This is not to say that Warford is a slouch in the pass-blocking department. On the contrary, he displays exceptional anchoring strength, and mirrors defenders movement much better than you would expect from a man his size. Warford would represent solid use of the newly acquired second rounder from the Seahawks.
4th(105): LT Brennan Williams 6'7" 315 lbs North Carolina
Although Williams played right tackle at UNC, he might be more suited to play the left side in the NFL. With that being said, this is a big-time value pick because he has the potential to replace Gross in the very near future. The best aspect I like about Williams is his passionate approach to the game. His mean streak could be awfully potent lined up alongside left guard Amini Silatolu.
5th(141): FS Bacarri Rambo 6'1" 215 lbs Georgia
Rambo could be gone by this point, but I'm hoping he slips a bit based on his failed drug test, which occurred after he unknowingly ate some brownies that were laced with marijuana(his dubious story, not mine). Regardless of that fact, his tackling ability and nose for the ball would be just what the doctor ordered for our secondary.
**5th**(151): NT Montori Hughes 6'4" 328 lbs Tennesse-Martin
It took a while, but the Panthers finally get their nose tackle, and he certainly has room to grow. Hughes began his promising college career in the SEC at Tennessee, but was booted off the team for academic violations. As always, you can't teach size, and he has plenty to spare. Hughes could be just the player we've been looking for to occupy a couple of blockers so that our defensive ends and linebackers can do even more damage.
6th(169): DE Armonty Bryant 6'4" 262 lbs East Central Oklahoma
Our last pick may be an unknown to many, but not among scouting circles. Bryant has been using his long arms(35 1/2 inches) and elite pass rushing acumen to blow up the Division II competition for several years now. If not for Bryant's inexplicable decision to sell weed on campus and his subsequent arrest, he would have potentially been a third round steal. As it stands, Bryant's physical skill-set is a risk worth taking at this spot in the draft.