The Carolina Panthers are rumored to be hot on the trail for the No. 2 overall pick, currently owned by the San Francisco 49ers.
Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee revealed he’s been hearing a lot of “talk/rumor about Carolina (picking at No. 8) trying to obtain 49ers’ No. 2 pick,” though he did say there’s nothing currently in the works on that front.
Interestingly, this information was passed along on the same day that Panthers head coach Ron Rivera made it clear that there is no slot too high to draft a running back. And he just so happened to say this in context of preparing to watch Leonard Fournette work out at his pro day (more on all that here).
The Panthers do need to provide Cam Newton with a long-term running mate in the backfield. They recently inked veteran Jonathan Steward to a two-year extension, but he just turned 30 and is at the tail end of his career.
The bigger concern for Carolina is its offensive line, however. And as much as Rivera might love to feature Fournette behind Newton, the player the Panthers need to focus on if the No. 2 pick is in play is offensive tackle Cam Robinson. Matt Kalil isn’t going to cut it, despite the insane contract he received to play left tackle (details here).
No matter who the Panthers might target at No. 2, obtaining that pick won’t come cheap. Likely, it’ll mean Carolina would have to swap first-round picks (from No. 8 to No. 2), give up both of its second-round picks and a future pick to make the move.
As Barrows mentioned, there’s nothing currently in the works at this time for the teams to swap picks in Round 1. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. If the Panthers are really eyeballing that pick, it’s likely they’ll make a strong push to land it closer to draft day, April 28.