Insider pours cold water on potential Carolina Panthers draft trade-up

Moving down, not up, seems more likely.

Dan Morgan
Dan Morgan / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A respected beat writer poured cold water on the Carolina Panthers potentially trading into the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft under Dan Morgan.

Considering the challenges Dan Morgan faced heading into his first offseason as Carolina Panthers general manager, he's done a good job of filling needs and preserving future financial flexibility. Some decisions were difficult - especially where fan favorites were concerned - but the early signs are positive under this new regime.

The Panthers will get the chance to strengthen their roster further during the 2024 NFL Draft. They boast seven selections despite giving up the No. 1 overall pick. They also have two early in the second round that comes with plenty of intriguing options attached.

Much will depend on how the board plays out in front of them. Morgan would be wise not to panic like his predecessor Scott Fitterer. Keeping an even keel and striking with conviction is key. Something that could finally see the Panthers begin to draft the right players with the mindset they're looking to establish across the board.

Carolina Panthers could trade down in Round No. 2

Some fans are clamoring for Morgan to trade up into the first round if a top-level prospect starts falling. While that's a tempting proposition, Joe Person from The Athletic thought moving down is more likely at this stage of the team's substantial rebuild.

"Given that the Panthers are rebuilding, even if they’re not calling it that, it’s much more likely Dan Morgan trades back in the second round. In fact, I’d be kind of surprised it he doesn’t. In looking at those two second-round selections, there’s greater value obviously in 33. A team that decides after Round 1 that it can’t live without Player X — let’s just use Xavier Worthy as a hypothetical — knows there’s a guaranteed way to draft him: Call Morgan and work out a trade for the first pick of Day 2. This makes perfect sense, especially since the Panthers still have 39 at their disposal. Morgan can pick up additional lottery picks — maybe even recoup next year’s second that went to Chicago in last year’s blockbuster — and start shaping the roster as he and Canales see fit."

Joe Person, The Athletic

Nothing can - or should - be ruled out completely. Morgan is keeping his options open. He also needs to maximize the capital available and perhaps even put themselves in a stronger position moving forward. Last year's trade-up for quarterback Bryce Young came at a significant cost to the Panthers, so recouping assets wouldn't be the worst idea with nobody expecting miracles during their first season under head coach Dave Canales.

Morgan has already installed more professionalism and collaboration into the team's roster construction. There have been no rash moves, which is a refreshing change of pace. Everything is being done with a business-first mindset and with a legitimate plan. This was seldom seen during the Fitterer and Matt Rhule years. It's also the more traditional method of building a contender around the league.

Trading up is an option. Trading down is another. Whichever way the Panthers go, the need to get things right cannot be overstated. This is a franchise on its knees. The sooner Morgan and his staff begin shifting the narrative, the better their chances will be.

But when it's all said and done, it might be a quiet Day 1 of the draft for the Panthers and their long-suffering fanbase.