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Quarterback is Panthers’ top priority, but Fairley may be top pick

BCS Championship Football

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.

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39 Responses to “Quarterback is Panthers’ top priority, but Fairley may be top pick”
  1. stevo8drum says: Jan 26, 2011 2:02 PM

    take my Kolb……Please!!!! badum bump!!

  2. freedomispopular says: Jan 26, 2011 2:06 PM

    So I guess that’s the new trend…if your rookie QB isn’t an all-star in his first year, it’s time to move on.

  3. njsteeler says: Jan 26, 2011 2:09 PM

    freedomispopular…, I couuldn’t agree more. If that’s the case the GM needs to be fired. I’m so sick of these teams that give up on someone because they might have struggled a bit in their first year. James Harrison should be digging ditches or bagging groceries using this logic.

  4. seanmmartin says: Jan 26, 2011 2:10 PM

    Is it out of the realm of possibility that Carolina trades down and away to Cincinnati for Carson Palmer?

    Thumbs up for yes, down for no.

  5. dfeltz says: Jan 26, 2011 2:13 PM

    Michael David Smith – whatever you post, I will never believe or support your views, even if you get quotes directed towards you of anyone who actually is with the NFL or part an organization. Of all reports, you probably do the least amount of homework to check to see if what you are speaking of is even remotely true. You should probably try and leverage a job at the Sun or Inside Edition you tool.

  6. oldbyrd says: Jan 26, 2011 2:18 PM

    Call The Philadelphia Eagles

  7. samie09 says: Jan 26, 2011 2:22 PM

    Yeah i hate to tell you but suring up the DT spot not the only major need on this team. This will take a few years to re build.

  8. bigd4defense says: Jan 26, 2011 2:23 PM

    Guys, painful as it was, I watched several Panthers games. I thought Moore had the most promise because he seemed to show something in 2009. He looked absolutely LOST in 2010, however. The Panthers did not want to play Claussen, they HAD to. When he got in there he showed no ability to read a defense or make an accurate throw when there were plays to be had. There’s a reason he slipped so far down the 2010 draft board. It showed on the field this past year.

  9. Deb says: Jan 26, 2011 2:25 PM

    If Luck had come out, it would be nuts to spend two consecutive first picks on QBs. What does that say about your player personnel people and offensive coaches? If Clausen showed enough to make him worth the pick, bring in a vet QB he can back up for a while and a better QB coach to bring him along. Rethink your offensive playbook, line, and receivers. Take a look at your running game. But don’t just dump the kid after a year when everything around him sucked as much as he did and your HC was totally detached from the team.

    As an Alabama fan, I have a natural aversion for Auburn’s Fairley. He’s known for his cheap shots, but the guy is a beast. He’ll be an asset to any team.

  10. hobartbaker says: Jan 26, 2011 2:27 PM

    Nick is Fairley good, but Gabbert has The Shine!

  11. herokravon says: Jan 26, 2011 2:44 PM

    Slim Jim cannot play. I know me some football and saw every game he participated in this year. As they say here in the South, “Bless his heart”.

  12. clintonportisheadd says: Jan 26, 2011 2:49 PM

    They ought to call Green Bay about Matt Flynn….

    Kolb is not going to be traded because no one in Philly can trust Vick won’t backslde next year (off OR on field wise)

    Palmer is not going anywhere. Mike Brown is a stubborn mule who tuned down 2 number ones for Chad Johnson just to prove a point.

  13. slickster35 says: Jan 26, 2011 2:51 PM

    LOL @ Gabbert.

    But to answer the other question, yes, Clausen is yet another failed ND QB.

    Montana was a LONG time ago.

  14. jhorton83 says: Jan 26, 2011 2:54 PM

    Somewhere Jimmy Clausen and Mel Kiper are crying.

  15. parkerfly says: Jan 26, 2011 3:05 PM

    Props to the Panthers for not getting stupid and reaching for a QB at the top spot. But have they really seen enough of Jimmy Clausen to know he’s not the answer? He wasn’t good but can you really expect a rookie to carry an entire team that’s bad?

  16. thegreatwhitemidget says: Jan 26, 2011 3:19 PM

    What they need is a vet for clausan to sit behind a team that doesn’t play at a high school level around him

  17. panther17 says: Jan 26, 2011 3:23 PM

    freedomispopular and njsteeler,

    What Hurney said is absolutely correct. We need a QB. He said nothing about giving up on Clausen. Our QB play last season hurt us bad. If Clausen is not ready to start, then we need a vet to hold over until he is.

    Now if you want to criticize Hurney, write he is a freaking idiot for trading away future 1st round picks in back to back years for failures. Otah is a failure. No full seasons in 3 years and actually not even stepping on the field at all last year is injury prone. Can’t do crap on the bench. And Hurney is an idiot for trading away this years 2nd round pick for Armanti Edwards.

  18. panther17 says: Jan 26, 2011 3:33 PM

    And Deb,

    We had 3 RB with 4.0+ ypc average. Oline had some injuries. The WR couldn’t get a fair grade with no QB throwing to them. The D would of been a top D in the league if the team had an O to stay on the field once in awhile.

  19. catman72 says: Jan 26, 2011 3:38 PM

    LOL, What Hurney is really saying here is:

    “If you’ve got your heart set on a QB in this draft class, you better trade for our 1st overall pick or we might take him.”

    With a rookie pay scale coming, teams will be much more likely to trade for the 1st overall pick if they really have their heart set on someone. Apparently the Skins have man-crush on Locker so I could see them jumping all the way up to # 1 to grab him.

    On top of all that, Hurney is well know for trading 1st round picks and now he’s got the biggest chip on the table, so I would be very surprised if we actually end up picking first when draft day rolls around.

  20. BC says: Jan 26, 2011 3:46 PM

    Are they bleeping crazy? Grab Ryan Mallett!

  21. chazzmon says: Jan 26, 2011 3:49 PM

    Trading Kolb would be great move for Philly, not so much for Carolina. He never played well in the red zone or playing from behind. He’s got a big arm but then so did Jeff George and a bunch of other guys who got drafted early but couldn’t make the grade.

  22. thenewwisewoo says: Jan 26, 2011 4:07 PM

    @njsteeler, freedomispopular

    I get what you’re saying and I feel the same way but Jimmy Clausen was simply awful. Jimmy Clausen made me want David Carr back. Every Jimmy Clausen game was like watching the Arizona Playoff-Turnover Game on replay.

  23. da11ascowboys says: Jan 26, 2011 4:22 PM

    Carolina absolutely does NOT need to waste a pick on a QB. Your team could barley win a game last year, you are toast. You HAVE to go with the best available player on the board… and yes giving up on Jimmy Clausen after one year is absolutely ridiculous. (San Diego:Let’s get rid of Drew Brees) I agree with most of the posters above about bringing in a veteran QB via free agency (McNabb..hell anyone) to maybe help set him in the right direction. I mean… a coach wouldn’t be so bad either. Don’t go for a QB this year.. just go for Luck next year when you’re the #1 pick again… just being honest.

  24. djp141 says: Jan 26, 2011 4:27 PM

    I don’t think anyone expected Clausen to be an all-star. I would’ve settled for “not terrible”. Didn’t happen.

  25. bigtrav425 says: Jan 26, 2011 4:50 PM

    Seanmartin……if they do that with Palmer they better hope he can tutor Claussen.Im with everyone else saying that they GM should be fired if they are not gonna give him a chance.the whole team overall was pretty bad this yr not just Claussen.Il be honest and say im not a fan of his at all but atleast give the guy a chance instead of just half a yr or so

  26. tbd3 says: Jan 26, 2011 5:11 PM

    Do not take Gabbert first overall. There is no quarterback in this draft worth the first pick.

  27. njsteeler says: Jan 26, 2011 5:29 PM

    panther17, I understand what you and thenewisewoo are saying also. But like someone else pointed out, the Panthers just aren’t very good team. I admittedly do not see a lot of Panthers games, but with that running game, and some defense, you would think they would follow the Steelers, Jets and Ravens blueprint, and just let Clausen manage the game until he got his footing in the NFL. Not saying the kid is good or bad, but is one year with a bad team enough time to judge?

  28. handlethehandles says: Jan 26, 2011 5:33 PM

    This team needs to accept the fact that they are more like the Bengals then the Steelers. Who cares who they draft, they have no way and I mean no way to be a factor for at least 5 years.

    The other teams in this division are significantly better. If you like the Panthers you probably like the Raiders.

  29. playthedamngame says: Jan 26, 2011 5:51 PM

    Carolina needs a quarterback thats a given . panthers wasn’t good anywhere on offense this year. even our great backs looked average a lot of the time.We all know that they aren’t average at all. So to throw Clausen under the bus when everyone looked bad is silly he just needs a vet to follow for a while before passing judgement. Now if I was looking at a vet I would take a good hard look at Kyle Orton. Kolb is young but it would cost to much to get him and you can’t say he is proven Reed pulled the plug him to quick to get a good look at him.Under Fox’s time at Carolina they were probably the worst at bringing along any QB.

  30. djp141 says: Jan 26, 2011 6:49 PM

    No way the Panthers draft a QB. They will bring in a vet to compete with Clausen.

  31. sterilizecromartie says: Jan 26, 2011 6:50 PM

    I still think Clausen can be a starting QB in this league. He has the physical attributes, but his body language and demeanor are so bad, he makes Cutler look good. Most of the time he acts like he just does not care at all. If he gets intercepted he just jogs back to the sideline like it didn’t even happen. Show some emotion. I guess that comes with being a loser at ND. If you are used to losing, you grow accustomed to it, and then it doesn’t even bother you anymore.

    So here are the steps to rebuilding for Carolina:

    1.) Someone needs to get in Clausen’s face and get him to start caring (sort of how Singeltary did with Vernon Davis).

    2.) Trade Steve Smith. Clausen will never be able to prove his leadership skills (if he has any) or gain the respect of his teammates with Smith basically calling the plays/bitching Clausen out in the huddle.

    3.) Draft AJ Green #1 to replace Smith. He might be the only slam-dunk can’t miss prospect in this draft.

    4.) If Clausen still sucks next year, they will probably be drafting in top 5 again and they will be able to draft Luck or Matt Barkley.

    I’ve played Madden Franchise many times. I know how to build a team.

  32. panther17 says: Jan 26, 2011 6:58 PM

    njsteeler,

    They tried to pound the ball and play defense but everyone played to stop the run. Eventually the QB has to make a play in the passing game. Our QB’s just didn’t do it this year. He held on to the ball too long. Looked confused. All the normal rookie QB mistakes. The injuries on the oline hurt as well. The pressure on the QB made him start to look like David Carr when he dropped back. Looking like a deer in headlights when there was pressure as well feeling phantom pressure when there was none. His pocket presence was surely lacking last season. Stuff that can be approved on.

    So following the blueprint of the steelers, ravens, and jets would of been a heck of an idea, Clausen just wasn’t ready for that last season.

    I’m not giving up on Clausen. A Vet to give him more time is probably needed.

    However, I would of taken Luck if he did come out. Clausen was a 2nd round pick last year. So it is not like it is too hurtful to take another QB early if there is a QB of Luck’s potential on the board. But there is not now this year.

  33. Deb says: Jan 26, 2011 8:12 PM

    @panther17 …

    Have nothing against the Panthers and wasn’t trying to disrespect your team–just the notion that anyone would spend two consecutive first picks on a QB. Did not say your running game was bad, etc.–said take a look at them and the play-calling to see what you can do to make that system more conducive to a QB with limited skills. Said exactly what you did about bringing in a vet QB to teach Clausen. Maybe the guy will prove to be a total bust, but that’s not something you’d decide in one year.

    Don’t believe one rookie QB is the sole problem that puts a team on the bottom if everything else is functioning properly. And this isn’t Clausen-love talking. As I said, I’m an Alabama fan. The one team we hate as much as Auburn is Notre Dame.

  34. hboilers24 says: Jan 26, 2011 8:27 PM

    for those saying that Carolina shouldn’t be looking for a new QB after just 1 year i say this:

    Clausen didn’t just make the typical rookie mistakes that can be over come with experience. he looked SCARED on the field. yes he didn’t have much to work with. but looking at other rookie QBs (bradford and colt mccoy come to mind) who also had very little to work with didnt panic. yes they made mistakes but both of those guys got the praises of their fans because they never waivered and showed they have that “it” factor that cant be taught. thats why carolina needs to find someone else.

  35. hboilers24 says: Jan 26, 2011 8:28 PM

    @ Deb:

    clausen was a 2nd round pick

  36. CKL says: Jan 26, 2011 8:52 PM

    What Catman says makes sense. Hurney’s posturing for a trade down. Certainly that would be the wisest thing for them to do to help fortify the team.

  37. Deb says: Jan 26, 2011 9:24 PM

    @hboilers24 …

    Gee, don’t I feel stupid :oops:

    Got him and Bradford switched up all season. Yep, Bradford was first pick overall … and he’s the one who played well LOL

    Think I should stop now while I’m behind. Thank you :)

  38. bigmikeyreturns says: Jan 27, 2011 5:22 AM

    Given the absence of a stellar QB who is worthy of the pick, I don’t think Carolina has any intentions of hanging on to the 1. They’ll trade down and get multiple picks, because they have multiple needs.

  39. djp141 says: Jan 27, 2011 8:42 AM

    Panthers would love to trade down. But who’s gonna want to trade up to the top spot of a draft that has no consensus #1?

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