Panthers looking to trade into Round 2

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- What is already a busy and exciting draft for the NFC South (Carolina Panthers taking Cam Newton at No. 1 and the Atlanta Falcons trading all of Flowery Branch to move up and grab Julio Jones) is getting busier and more exciting.

ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, who graciously agreed to contribute to this blog during the draft, just whispered some significant news in my ear. Carolina coach Ron Rivera told Paolantonio the Panthers are at least attempting to move back into the second round of this draft. They gave up that pick last year as part of a trade to take receiver Armanti Edwards in the third round.

According to Paolantonio, Rivera said the Panthers are calling around to gauge interest in possible trades. The coach said this year’s third-round pick could be part of the package, along with an early-round pick in 2012.

The Panthers have two third-round picks this year. The second one is the final pick of the third round and was a compensatory pick for the loss of Julius Peppers. The Panthers are not allowed to trade the compensatory pick.

Paolantonio said Rivera expressed the Panthers would target a defensive tackle or cornerback if they can get into the second round.