The Carolina Panthers won’t get the chance to use their first overall draft pick on quarterback Andrew Luck. But they do want to identify their quarterback of the future this offseason.
Panthers G.M. Marty Hurney told the Charlotte Observer that there’s no secret about it: The Panthers need a quarterback.
“That’s the No.1 need,” Hurney said. “I think we have good players. It all starts with solidifying that spot. That’s something that everybody in the league would agree with.”
Jimmy Clausen, the quarterback taken in the second round last year, did not play particularly well as a rookie. And Matt Moore, who was viewed as a possible quarterback of the future when he signed an exclusive-rights tender offer with the Panthers in 2010, isn’t expected to return in 2011. So it’s easy to see why Hurney is talking about finding a passer.
But it’s harder to see where there’s a quarterback worthy of going first overall in this year’s draft. The conventional wisdom was that the Panthers had their hearts set on Luck, and when he decided to remain at Stanford, the Panthers may have decided to go shopping for a quarterback in free agency, and go in a different direction in the draft.
Hurney said the Panthers’ No. 2 need is defensive tackle, and he said he’s already gathering information on Auburn’s Nick Fairley.
“At this point, we have to do more research,” Hurney said. “But obviously he’s an impact player inside. . . . I think when you’re picking high, it needs to be an impact position and an impact player.”
And without Luck in the draft, Fairley may be the first player taken.