With the NFL pressing pause for the week, perhaps the start of NFL Draft’s silly season can begin a little early.
We are six weeks away from finding out who the Panthers will draft No. 1 overall, and we’re bound to hear a lot of reports and rumors about their preference in the meantime. This is a draft without a clear top pick, which will only increase the speculation.
One theory taking hold of late is that Cam Newton has a good chance to go first, despite his erratic effort throwing at the Combine. A report from the Charlotte Observer Saturday helps support the theory.
Joseph Person credits two sources that say the Panthers are “not sold” on taking a defensive lineman No. 1 overall. They are expected to take “long looks” at Newton and Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Teams drafting near No. 1 certainly haven’t set their board yet, and the draft’s best defensive linemen aren’t seen as “can’t miss” guys. Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley could seemingly go anywhere in the top ten. Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers will have to show he’s healthy at his April 1 Pro Day.
There are five or more players that could conceivably go first overall: LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson and Alabama defensive tackle Marcel Dareus could wind up being in the mix.
There are a lot of people paid to act like they know everything about the draft process. The reality is that no one knows in early March, especially in this muddled draft year.