As they do every week, CBS Sports’ Chad Reuter and Rob Rang released their latest 2011 NFL mock drafts, updating their projections after the happenings of last week. One player, Auburn’s Cam Newton, shot up the boards, with Reuter projecting that the Carolina Panthers will use the No. 1 overall pick on Newton. Carolina, if you’ll remember, was a lock to take Stanford’s Andrew Luck, the consensus best pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, before Luck chose to stay at Stanford for another year.
The pick comes with a caveat, according to Reuter, and it may not be Carolina that lands Newton. Instead, the Panthers could dangle the prospect of a trade out to see which teams bite.
Newton’s physical attributes and personality will entice at least one team enough to make a deal with Carolina for this pick. Even the Panthers could pick up Newton, as new head coach Ron Rivera was not on board when the team selected Jimmy Clausen last fall.
Keep in mind, if a new collective bargaining agreement isn’t in place and the owners choose to lock the players out, draft day trades could only involve picks, not players. Because of that, the odds of a trade for the No. 1 overall pick seem low, with teams having to give up a haul of picks both now and in the future to supplement the inability to trade away immediate impact players. The labor negotiations could throw a wrench into what’s typically a busy draft, with teams wheeling and dealing throughout the three days.
For more on the draft, check out our 2011 NFL mock draft StoryStream.