CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Breaking down the trade of three draft picks to Philadelphia to select offensive tackle Jeff Otah in 2008, one of the riskiest moves by the Carolina Panthers over the past 25 years:
Round/overall selection: First/19th.
Did the risk pay off: Absolutely not. The Panthers gave Philadelphia their second- and fourth-round picks in 2008 and first-round pick in 2009 to get Pittsburgh’s Otah, considered one of the top tackles in the draft. Then-general manager Marty Hurney felt the organization was a piece or two away from competing for the Super Bowl and that Otah could be vital to the ground-oriented offense. Otah played well at right tackle for two years, starting 25 games in his first two seasons. He then developed knee problems and missed 31 of his last 35 games. The Panthers attempted to trade him to the New York Jets for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2012, but it was rescinded when Otah failed his physical. Carolina ultimately released him. The Eagles parlayed the extra first-round pick in 2009 into a trade with Buffalo for offensive tackle Jason Peters, who went on to become an eight-time Pro Bowl selection. Buffalo took Philadelphia’s pick (28th) from Carolina and selected center Eric Wood, who was selected to the Pro Bowl this past season. The Panthers made matters worse in 2009 by trading their 2010 first-round pick for San Francisco’s 2009 second-round pick. They used that on linebacker Everette Brown, who was waived in 2011 after starting three games and collecting six sacks in two seasons. Carolina never made the Super Bowl with Otah. It went 12-4 in 2008, and then lost its first-round playoff game to Arizona. The Panthers went 8-8, 2-14 and 6-10 the next three years.
Was there a safer move: Absolutely. The Panthers could have kept their picks and selected Otah or another tackle with the 13th pick of the first round. Kansas City got tackle Branden Albert at No. 15. Albert has started 106 games and made the Pro Bowl twice. The Panthers used the 13th pick on running back Jonathan Stewart after using their first-round pick in 2006 on running back DeAngelo Williams. Had they gotten a tackle in the first round and kept their second-round pick they could have gotten running back Ray Rice, the 55th overall pick to Baltimore. Or they could have gotten Jamaal Charles, who wasn’t selected until the third round by Kansas City. Charles has 1,408 more career yards than Stewart (5,814). Rice became a three-time Pro Bowl selection before his career was sidetracked with off-the-field issues.