So now it's time to decide where to send him and for what. For the where, we'd definitely trade him to the Patriots, as they are just about the only team that's shown any interest in Peppers. If that's not enough, there's more reason to send him to New England.
New England doesn't have any player to offer, that they'd be willing to trade. But the Cats aren't looking for a player. They want a first round draft pick. New England has a first rounder right in the middle of the first round at number 23.
That's just what Carolina wants, as it doesn't force them to make a difficult decision yet there's still players with potential remaining. If they get this pick from New England, one question remains: who do they get?
The first thing to look at is their draft needs. In this year's draft, the Cats need to replace a DE, a DT, and a CB. If Peppers is gone, though, make that a DL, DE, DT, and CB. There are many talented CB's predicted to be picked in the first round, and a few defensive linemen to go with that. So who does Carolina pick if they have that pick?
CB Malcolm Jenkins is a possibility. With Jenkins, there are two possibilities. Either he's taken in the top 10, or he's picked around 20-25, right where New England is and right where Carolina would be. Jenkins is an impressive prospect at the CB position. In the NFL Combine, Jenkins had great numbers. 4.54 in the 40 yard dash, 33.0 on the vertical jump, and 10'4" on the broad jump shows he's a great draft prospect.
Combine stats combined (no pun intended) with Malcolm's incredible college stats makes for a great NFL potential. Darius Butler is another talented CB that could have NFL potential. He also has a higher potential of being around at pick 23 and better combine stats on many events. These are two possible picks for Carolina if they get that pick.
Now for Defensive linemen. The best players that will be around 20-25 in these positions are Evander Hood at DT, Aaron Maybin at DE, and Peria Jerry at DT/DL. On the Bench press, Maybin got 22, Hood put up an incredible 34, and Jerry didn't participate.
For the 20 yd. Shuttle run, Maybin got 4.38, Hood got 4.55, and Jerry again didn't participate. Finally, in the 3-cone drill, Maybin got 7.52, Hood got a slightly better 4.50, and Jerry didn't participate.
Jerry's lack of participation and therefor stats could hurt him, but he's still predicted in the first round and right where Carolina would pick. Maybin looks promising but has a much less chance to be around at No. 23. Hood looks like the best pick as he almost definitely will be there at 23 and has better stats than Maybin on 2/3 events in the combine.
Carolina hasn't had much of a history of picking what they need in the first round though. Just look at last year, when they picked Stewart at No. 20 when they already had Williams in a RB. This year, if they look at something they don't necessarily need, they might look at a QB to back up an aging Jake Delhomme.
Josh Freeman would be their man. Impressive stats with Kansas State last year and 4 years of experience, he looks like a great prospect. He is predicted by 4 experts to be picked at No. 17 by the Jets, close to No. 23. Freeman is an accurate passer that, with a little experience and practice, could be great later in his career or even replace Jake if he gets injured in the next few seasons.
So if Peppers is traded to get the No. 23 pick, who do I think they will pick? I think it's between Malcolm Jenkins, Evander Hood, and Josh Freeman. The No. 3 choice would be Freeman, as he isn't a necessity. Then, at No. 2 choice, I'd say Jenkins, as they can get a CB in round 2 or 3 and Jenkins is the least likely to be around at No. 23. Their No. 1 choice would be Evander Hood, as he's a promising pick and would help Carolina next season.
Trading Peppers would be a great choice for Carolina, and would give them a better chance to be great in '09.