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Carolina Panthers could try to trade up in the 2019 NFL Draft

Ron Rivera, Panthers

The Carolina Panthers hold the No. 16 pick in Thursday’s NFL Draft, and very few, if any, projections have had them moving from that spot, in either direction. However, that may be on the verge of changing, as Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reports the Panthers have been one of the most-discussed candidates to trade up in the first round in league circles.

Allegedly, the Panthers would make such a move to acquire one of the top three offensive tackles in the draft: Alabama’s Jonah Williams, Florida’s Jawaan Taylor, and Washington State’s Andre Dillard among them. The Houston Texans have also been discussed as a candidate to make such a move.

Should the Panthers try to move up, they will have little ammunition to do so, but do have two picks in the third round that can be used in a package. The team was granted a compensatory pick for the loss of All-Pro left guard Andrew Norwell to free agency.

Trading up carries a good deal of risk, though, especially when it comes to doing so for an offensive lineman. Taking a first-round offensive lineman has been hit-or-miss, with the past decade seeing a high number of picks that have flamed out.

Luke Joeckel was taken second overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013, and was out of the league entirely in 2018. Ereck Flowers was chosen at No. 9 by the New York Giants in 2015, and Greg Robinson also failed to meet expectations after being picked No. 2 overall by the Rams.

The need is there, and the draft has several quality offensive tackle prospects in the first round. Will the Panthers be able to get their hands on one? It would certainly help Cam Newton bounce back from a season that ended on the injury report.