The Panthers made a major trade Saturday night that allowed them to take Florida State defensive end Everette Brown with pick No.43.
To do that, the Panthers gave up their first-round pick for 2010 to San Francisco -- a very big price. Carolina also got a fourth-round pick from the 49ers in this draft -- the No.111 pick overall -- and retained its No.59 pick deep in the second round. With that selection, the Panthers picked Troy cornerback Sherrod Martin, fulfilling a need for depth at the position after parting ways with Ken Lucas in the offseason. Martin has also played a lot of safety, but will most likely be used on special teams and as a nickel cornerback to start out here.
While Martin won't start, Brown certainly might do so opposite Peppers. Here's my column for Sunday's paper, where I talk about whether the trade was worth it.
So was Brown worth a 2010 first-round pick? That's the big question, but at least the Panthers have something worth debating again. Brown had 13.5 sacks at FSU in 2008 and was runnerup for ACC Player of the Year, but he's a bit undersized for a DE. Some analysts thought Brown would be better-suited to OLB in a 3-4 scheme.
Brown dropped dramatically in this draft -- almost every mock draft had him in the first round, some in the top 15. (He's also a North Carolina kid, growing up in eastern N.C., where he went to Beddingfield High and actually used to watch Peppers play high school basketball -- as his school and Peppers' high school were in the same conference).
Panther officials have obviously made this move because 1) the uncertainty about Julius Peppers' long-term future at Carolina -- although he certainly should be here for 2009, I think; 2) the fact that no one besides Peppers really could make a dent on the opposing QB in 2008 with any regularity and 3) the fact the Panthers think they are really close to making another deep playoff run and aren't afraid to mortgage some of the future -- i.e. that 2010 1st-rounder -- to get there.
If they're wrong? This one could look bad (and there have been some busts from FSU at DE in the past -- remember Andre Wadsworth?). The Panthers have an extremely difficult schedule, meaning that if they fall on their face in 2009, that 2010 1st-round pick might be a top-15 selection at the least.
But the Panthers aren't playing scared here, that's for sure.
"The best pass defense is a strong pass rush," Carolina coach John Fox is fond of saying, and he and Marty Hurney have made a bold move to help themselves on that pass rush with this trade.
It's the second year in a row Carolina has traded away a future No.1 pick for help now -- a trick the Washington Redskins once specialized in many years ago. Jeff Otah came to Carolina last season for the 2009 1st-rounder. "You only do it for players you think can help you right away," Hurney said Saturday night after the trade.
So Brown better do just that.