In my latest mock draft I have the Carolina Panthers selecting Blaine Gabbert with the No. 1 overall selection.
It was a tough decision, as I’ve had either Da’Quan Bowers or Nick Fairley in the top spot for the past two months. However, I now believe the Panthers are leaning heavily toward a quarterback.
GM Marty Hurney reportedly still supports Jimmy Clausen, whom he selected in the 2nd round in 2010, but the new coaching staff wants to move on and put their mark on the franchise. More often than not, the coaching staff wins these battles.
There has been some speculation that the Panthers are interested in Cam Newton. It’s certainly possible, but I just don’t envision Ron Rivera – a tough, old school defensive-minded guy who played under Mike Ditka – rolling the dice a rookie quarterback with an ego the size of Newton’s.
With that in mind, the logical choice is Gabbert. He isn’t the best player in this year’s class but he is a player to build around, which is what Rivera and his staff is hoping to find.
Of course, all of these rumors could simply be a smokescreen. If everyone else thinks the Panthers want a quarterback, it raises the asking price of the No. 1 pick in a trade…