How many draft picks should Panthers sacrifice for Deshaun Watson?

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Deshaun Watson
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Deshaun Watson /
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Deshaun Watson
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /

Draft picks don’t guarantee success

Although there is some trepidation about giving up multiple first-round NFL Draft picks to acquire Deshaun Watson, this probably has something to do with how successful the Carolina Panthers have been in recent years at landing top college prospects who are now cornerstones of the franchise.

Most teams across the league aren’t as lucky. But the Panthers deserve a tremendous amount of credit for consistently identifying top players to fit their needs at the time and these shrewd selections should stand the organization in good stead moving forward.

Take a look at the players Carolina has drafted over the last four years.

  • 2020 – Derrick Brown
  • 2019 – Brian Burns
  • 2018 – D.J. Moore
  • 2017 – Christian McCaffrey

Now, this has left some with a clouded judgment no matter how good Watson is and what he could potentially do for the aspirations of the franchise. However, one doesn’t have to look far at the flipside to this coin where the Panthers are concerned.

Their selections immediately following this prolific run leaves a lot to be desired, which is further proof of what a precarious situation selecting the right prospects in the first round actually is.

Simply put, the four picks from 2013-16 haven’t panned out as anyone expected.

  • 2016 – Vernon Butler
  • 2015 – Shaq Thompson
  • 2014 – Kelvin Benjamin
  • 2013 – Star Lotulelei

So, over the last eight years, the Panthers have had a 50 percent success rate with their first-rounders. Better than most of the NFL, but still a crapshoot.

Trading so much for Watson might be a risky move in the grand scheme of things. But he is an elite quarterback entering his prime who makes Carolina an instant playoff contender providing other improvements are made.