NFL Draft 2011: Who Will Fall to Carolina at the Top and Bottom of the Third?

Evan HigginsCorrespondent IIApril 27, 2011

Armanti Edwards, wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, was selected in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, a pick that Carolina traded their 2011 second round pick for.
Armanti Edwards, wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, was selected in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, a pick that Carolina traded their 2011 second round pick for.

Two seasons ago, Carolina traded their 2010 first-round pick to select defensive end Everette Brown in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft.

In last year's draft, Carolina sent their 2011 second-round pick to New England to select quarterback-turned-receiver Armanti Edwards, who played in three games last season, recording no receptions and rushing one time for seven yards out of the wildcat.

That blame mostly goes on John Fox, who seemed all but uninterested in developing the the former Appalachian State star.

Little did Carolina know, they would go on to have the worst record in the NFL, resulting in the top pick in the draft. Given they gave up this year's second-round pick, they lost out on the top pick of the second round as well.

After Carolina makes their selection with the first overall pick, who is expected to be quarterback Cam Newton, the team will have to wait until the third round to make their second selection.

With needs almost everywhere, Carolina will obviously have many options, most likely taking the best player on the board. With this draft having so much depth along the defensive line, Carolina may be able to find a defensive linemen with a second-round talent.

Carolina holds the first and last pick on the third round, acquiring a compensation third-round pick with the loss of Julius Peppers last season when he was signed by the Bears.

Usually, a prospect that was projected to be a first- or second-round pick that slipped is the first pick in the third round. While it's hard to determine who that player will be, Carolina has options.

Along the defensive line, Allen Bailey, Jarvis Jenkins, Kenrick Ellis and Drake Nevis could be available when Carolina is on the clock at the top of the third round.

I believe Bailey fits best, as he can play any position along the line, and is the type of player Ron Rivera likes: brute strength, athletic, passionate, great character and work ethic. While he may never be a star, he will be the type of player every coach loves to have.

Kenrick Ellis also fits, as he is a underrated player from a small school, but this guy can play. His huge body (6'5", 338 pounds) will stop the run on any given play.

With the last pick in the third round, Carolina's options become slimmer.

Cornerback Richard Marshall isn't expected to return, leaving a whole opposite side Chris Gamble. Carolina could go defensive back here, as Ahmad Black of Florida or Marcus Hilchrist of Clemson may be available here.

According to Pro Football Weekly, wide receiver Steve Smith cleaned out his locker and family's suite, hinting more and more that his days in Carolina are done.

If Smith is traded, that leaves a big hole at receiver for Carolina.

While they drafted Brandon LaFell, Armanti Edwards and David Gettis last season, they won't be enough to replace one of the best players in history of the Panthers franchise.

Speedy wideout Edmond Gates of Abilene Christian should be available and would bring back the burner type of receiver Smith once was. After posting an impressive 4.47 combine time, Gates would fit perfectly with this Carolina squad.

Gates comes from the same college Chicago star receiver Johnny Knox is from.

There is a chance North Carolina receiver Greg Little will be available at the first round of the third round, in which case Carolina may not be able to pass up.

With Carolina holding the first overall pick, and not having a second-round pick, they simply cannot miss on any pick they have in this draft. After the top selection, Carolina must select the best player on the board, as they have needs at almost every position.