It’s going to be an amazing NFL Draft this year. With several teams in need of a franchise quarterback, this QB deep draft has already had them scrambling to trade up to secure their future. A byproduct of this situation is that elite position players will be available later in the draft than usual. Now, the bad news is that those elite position prospects will be gone well before the Panthers #24 pick. That being the case, should the Panthers trade up to grab an elite talent, stand pat and get the player atop their board, or trade back and look to improve their position in later rounds and possibly pick up an additional pick?
For me, trading up from #24 for a prospect would be tough to justify. The Panthers have more roster needs than can be addressed with their current picks. Moving up would mean trading away some of those valuable picks. This isn’t to say that if an elite player, in a position of need, drops to pick 18 or later, I wouldn’t consider trading a third round pick to get them, because I would. Otherwise, I would be against any trade up. I don’t think there is any one prospect in this draft who would improve the team enough to offset the cost of trading away a second round pick.
Standing pat at #24 is certainly the easiest way to go, but is it the most effective use of your asset (the pick). I think a balanced approach is called for. A team should stick fairly close to their big board but not focus exclusively on their board’s best player available (BPA). Look at the BPA and a handful of prospects nearest to his rating. If the BPA or another prospect has a rating that merits the pick, AND is in a position of need, then they should be the pick. If none seem to meet that threshold, then you need to investigate your trade options.
Trading back from the #24 pick is the final option the Panthers will have to consider. Now, most of us are familiar with former GM Dave Gettleman’s sentiment about not trading a quarter for nickels but there are other possibilities. If your quarter can get you a twenty cent value plus a dime, you should take a long look at the offer. This is where having a set of guidelines can help with evaluating offers. The guidelines should be developed and confirmed prior to considering any offers. This prevents anyone from being enamored with a particular offer that may not be in the best interest of the franchise when looked at in a clear and unbiased manner. If an offer fits within the guidelines, you make the trade. If no offers fit within the guidelines you have established…then you go back to your big board and pick the BPA knowing you have done your best for the team.
Here are my suggested guidelines for the Panthers to utilize when evaluating trade offers for the #24 pick:
1. Any trade must include either a late first round or early second round (top 6) pick for the Panthers. (Don’t trade too far back before our first pick in the draft.)
2. Any trade that results in no first round pick must ensure the Panthers have at least two second round picks. (Second round is a sweet spot in this draft so make it worth giving up a first round pick to get there.)
3. Trades resulting in extra picks in early rounds (2nd thru 4th rds) are given a premium.
After looking at the early rounds of the NFL Draft, I came up with twelve trades for the Panthers #24 pick that made sense value wise. Then, I bounced them off the guidelines I had developed and was surprised when six of them did not meet the criteria and were therefore eliminated. Here are the remaining six trades to consider.
1) CAR sends #24 (1) --- MIN sends #30 (1) + #94 (3)
2) CAR sends #24 (1) + #161 (5) --- JAX sends #29 (1) + #93 (3)
3) CAR sends #24 (1) + #88 (3) --- CLE sends #33 (2) + #64 (2) + #114 (4)
4) CAR sends #24 (1) + #85 (3)--- NYG sends #34 (2) + #66 (3) + #108 (4)
5) CAR sends #24 (1) to + #55 (2) --- IND sends #36 (2) + #37 (2) + 140 (5)
6) CAR sends #24 (1) + #55 (2) + #197 (6) --- CLE sends #33 (2) + #35 (2)
(# indicates round of the pick)
This draft is sure to have some surprises and a lot of trades. Hopefully a worthy prospect falls to the Panthers in each round and we don’t make any trades…but if a trade is called for with the #24 pick the options above seem to be the best. I have my favorite and will share my reasoning in the comments section but I won’t give it here because it may pollute the poll I have attached to this post. Just vote for your favorite and if you feel inclined you can share your thoughts in the comments section.
As always, thanks for taking the time to read this submission and always "Keep Pounding".