As a potential top-five pick, however, Gregory figures to be wearing another club's hat by the time the Panthers make their first-round choice at No. 25. Moving up in the draft high enough to acquire Gregory would require a blockbuster trade, in the order of what the Atlanta Falcons gave up in 2011 to move up 21 spots from No. 27 to No. 6 to draft wide receiver Julio Jones. The Cleveland Browns reaped five draft picks from the trade, including two first-rounders, a second-rounder, and two fourth-rounders over a two-year stretch.
But while Carolina is a long way from Gregory territory in the first round, there is little doubt of the club's need for a pass rusher. NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt sees it as a top draft priority for the Panthers. The club's best pass rusher since 2012, Greg Hardy, has signed with the Dallas Cowboys and left something of a void on the Carolina defensive line.
The club's leader in sacks last year, with Hardy out on suspension, was Charles Johnson, who had 8.5.