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Panthers may draft QB instead of DL

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10:10 AM ET 03.06 | While most of the mock drafts by national pundits have the Panthers taking a defensive lineman with the top pick, that is not necessarily the thinking within the organization. Despite a need at defensive tackle, the Panthers' decision-makers are not sold on the idea of drafting a D-lineman at No. 1, a pair of league sources said this week. So who do the Panthers take? They'll take long looks at the two players considered to be the top quarterbacks -- Auburn's Cam Newton and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert. Obviously, there are more unknowns with Newton but the possibility of more upside, as well.

Charlotte Observer

Cam Newton, Joe Robbins/Getty Images Cam Newton, Joe Robbins/Getty Images
March 6, 2011  10:12 AM ET

They're obviously not sold on Clausen.

March 6, 2011  10:14 AM ET

But drafting a D-lineman isn't necessarily a bad idea.

March 6, 2011  10:16 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

They're obviously not sold on Clausen.

I'd still rather have Jimmy Clausen than waste a pick on Cam Newton.

March 6, 2011  10:17 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

I'd still rather have Jimmy Clausen than waste a pick on Cam Newton.

This is true.

March 6, 2011  10:22 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

This is true.

It all feels very John Gruden to me. The Panthers just drafted two quarterbacks (Clausen and Tony Pike) last year. Now they want to loaded up with another?

I would be okay with it if Andrew Luck were eligible.

But Luck was the only QB in this draft worthy of a #1 overall spot. Anyone else is a reach.

March 6, 2011  10:22 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

I'd still rather have Jimmy Clausen than waste a pick on Cam Newton.

Amen to that. Honestly, what will Newton, or anyone else for that matter, be able to do when they have to run for their life on almost every passing play? Clausen can be solid if they get him some help on the o-line. Also, getting some help at the wide receiver position would help too.

March 6, 2011  10:24 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

...But Luck was the only QB in this draft worthy of a #1 overall spot. Anyone else is a reach.

Truth!!!

March 6, 2011  10:25 AM ET

And I think Andrew Luck is an idiot (I can't stress that enough) for staying in college for another year.

The man was all but guaranteed to go #1 overall in this draft.

March 6, 2011  10:36 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

It all feels very John Gruden to me. The Panthers just drafted two quarterbacks (Clausen and Tony Pike) last year. Now they want to loaded up with another?I would be okay with it if Andrew Luck were eligible.But Luck was the only QB in this draft worthy of a #1 overall spot. Anyone else is a reach.

Marty Hurney is to QBs what Matt Millen was to WRs.

March 6, 2011  10:57 AM ET

Andrew Luck is NOT an idiot for staying in college another year...that is an insane statement within itself. If he wins the Championship this year he would be the first EVER winning quarterback of the PAC12.

March 6, 2011  10:59 AM ET

Andrew Luck will be as good or even better when he comes out next year...experience is the best teacher.

March 6, 2011  11:18 AM ET
QUOTE(#10):

Andrew Luck is NOT an idiot for staying in college another year...that is an insane statement within itself. If he wins the Championship this year he would be the first EVER winning quarterback of the PAC12.

That's a big If.

What happens if he doesn't excel under his new head coach?
What happens if he gets injured?
What happens if a better QB comes along?
What happens if the team drafting #1 overall next year already has a young QB they're committed to?

Then his draft stock drops and it costs him $ millions.

March 6, 2011  11:45 AM ET

This would be the dumbest, stupidest thing they could do. Draft one of those DLine guys. What does drafting Newton get them? 2 QBs that have a good upside and neither one is ready to start, that's what. Really Newton has a higher ceiling, but I'd say he has more bust potential than Clausen does even after Clausen's horrible ROOKIE season. I woulda understood drafting Luck as he appears to be a once in a decade type guy, but Newton appears to be a flavor of the year type guy that comes along every year...see: Vince Young, Alex Smith, JaMarcus Russell, you know the type of guys who were thought to possibly be a solid starting QB and then somehow jump to the top of the 1st round and then end up being huge busts, you know that type.

March 6, 2011  11:47 AM ET
QUOTE(#10):

Andrew Luck is NOT an idiot for staying in college another year...that is an insane statement within itself. If he wins the Championship this year he would be the first EVER winning quarterback of the PAC12.

Well that reamins to be seen really... he would be an idiot in hindsight if he ends up pulling a Brian Brohm or Jake Locker and slides into the second or late first. Those two each had a very good chance of going #1 overall if they woulda came out early.

Comment #15 has been removed
March 6, 2011  12:53 PM ET

cam would be difficult to pass up.

March 6, 2011  01:21 PM ET

Clausen sucks

March 6, 2011  02:01 PM ET

They HAVE to get a quaterback. It would be ridiculous for them to take Fairley or one of the other linemen or linebackers, that does not help a rebuilding team. Take Gabbert and trade Clausen for a 7th round pick.

March 6, 2011  02:10 PM ET

The tough part for the Panthers IMHO is that they need so much. No 1st round pick is going to turn the team around. It's gonna take more than one year for Carolina, I think. P.S. I think Rivera will do a good job as coach, and I think anyone that picks Newton will regret it in the end.

 
March 6, 2011  02:53 PM ET

Draft D-Line, pick up McNabb or a similar veteran for two years, and trade up for Luck next year. If you can't get Luck, then work with Claussen and allow him to grow beside a veteran who's on the downside but knows how to win. In each year's draft we see that athletic gifts aren't necessarily the skills needed at QB, but rather intelligence, mechanics, resolve, and quick decisions. Newton may end up making a good QB someday, but he is not the answer for the Panthers.

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