Carolina Panthers wanted to trade up for Leonoard Fournette but couldn’t

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 27: Leonard Fournette of LSU reacts after being picked
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 27: Leonard Fournette of LSU reacts after being picked /

Leonard Fournette was in demand during the 2017 NFL Draft and the Carolina Panthers almost snuck in to grab him before the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Carolina Panthers left the first night of the 2017 NFL Draft with Christian McCaffrey safely selected to be the next great thing in the Panthers backfield. McCaffrey is a top talent and well worth a top-10 selection. He is no slouch.

The Panthers almost made a deal happen for a different player, though.

Making a move for Fournette would have been something extraordinary for the Panthers. There were a number of talented running backs in the draft. Any option would have been viable.

While Fournette was clearly the top player and was an easy decision for the Jacksonville Jaguars at fourth overall, getting McCaffrey at eighth overall is also an excellent decision.

Interestingly, the Panthers went on to fire general manager Dave Gettleman before training camp and are (apparently) in the process of cleaning house in the front office, firing player personnel director Mark Koncz. All in all, the firings are raising red flags and making people nervous that the Panthers are not as stable of an organization as they were thought to be. 

More from Black and Teal

The Gettleman firing in particular opened up another Jaguars-Fournette-Panthers connection in light of the revelation that Carolina could have traded up for the running back. Following Gettleman’s firing, it wasn’t uncommon in Jaguars circles to advocate for his hiring to replace current general manager Dave Caldwell. The good folks over at Big Cat Country put up a long post on the idea. Writes Jimmy Siettmann:

"Guys who have had the success Gettleman has had don’t come available very often, and the Jaguars should jump on the opportunity to grab him. Gettleman is a perfect fit, as he served as the Director of Player Personal under Tom Coughlin from 2004-2013 with the Giants."

Fournette gives the Jaguars an opportunity to get back to a strong ground game that is in line with head coach Doug Marrone and Tom Coughlin’s old-school approach. Gettleman sounds like he thought along similar lines in his contemplation to trade for Fournette with the Panthers.

Bringing the top decision makers in line is important, but it is hardly a prerequisite for success. While the recent “what ifs” surrounding Fournette to the Panthers and the subsequent front office moves open up a lot of fun talking points, they are nothing more at this point.