We could do another straight mock draft, and tell you again how it's looking more and more like Cam Newton for the Carolina Panthers. But where's the fun in that?
The one option we haven't touched yet is the possibility of trades. The Panthers would likely be up for it, to add draft pick currency to a wallet thinned out by previous trades. The only problem is, the only people who seem inclined toward moving up might be farther down the order than the Panthers want to drop (QB-needy teams such as Washington and Minnesota).
That doesn't mean they won't listen. So here, for hypothetical discussion-generating purposes (i.e. not based on reporting or rumors or any whispers we may have heard), is Mock Draft v. 4.0:
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QB Cam Newton, Auburn
The Redskins have to give up their first and second (10th and 41st) and next year's first to move up, but they're desperate. It's clear they want to add a passer to the rotation now that flavor-of-the-month Donovan McNabb has lost his luster.
There is no more lustrous player in this draft than Newton.
DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama
Could go a number of ways here, but I just can't help thinking John Fox digs this guy the most.
LB Von Miller, Texas A&M
Popular QB destination? Perhaps, but Miller helps them more in 2011 than any passer would.
QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
They have to have someone to replace Carson Palmer, and Gabbert's the next guy in line.
DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina
Cards need pass rush and would love to get Miller here, but he's probably not going to get past three.
WR A.J. Green, Georgia
Nice target for Colt McCoy if he progresses or Jake Delhomme if he doesn't.
7. San Francisco
CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
At some point, BPA (best player available) overcomes need, and a guy some think is the best player in the draft goes.
QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
Convince yourself he's the kind of guy you can count on, and the talent is there.
OT Tyron Smith, Southern Cal
Could use a corner here, but the need for blockers dictates a bit of a reach.
WR Julio Jones, Alabama
If you're not going to take a quarterback, you make the next best move to fix the passing game. Then they can come back at 41 and dip into a deep pool of defensive tackles (maybe a Marvin Austin) and know you've got a little something for next year in your pocket.