Bad Luck Continues For Panthers: Stanford Quarterback Wants Degree Before NFL

Zach GreubelCorrespondent IIJanuary 6, 2011

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03: Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates after he threw a 38-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Stanford won 40-12. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It was announced today that Stanford junior quarterback Andrew Luck chose to stay in the classroom rather than be on the gridiron next season, scrambling all previous NFL mock drafts and possibly giving Cam Newton a chance at being the first overall pick in April's draft.

It's hard to disrespect Luck's decision from the perspective of a human being or student, especially since a lot of players tend to choose the NFL over staying in school and earning their degree. From a football fan's perspective, however, you might be a little less happy about it, but that obviously isn't our decision to make. 

The Carolina Panthers have many needs, like an entirely different football team. Not really, but they need a lot.

One of those needs, as Jimmy Clausen so humbly proved to us this season, is a quarterback. If Cam Newton proves himself one last time in Monday night's championship game against Oregon, we might have our first overall pick of the NFL Draft. Of course, with Da'Quan Bowers declaring for the draft, Carolina might want to jump at the chance of having another Julius Peppers on their defensive line.

Another route Carolina can take, if he declares, is taking Arkansas junior quarterback Ryan Mallett. The 6'6" quarterback proved against Ohio State that he could handle the pressure in late game situations and put up a decent stat line against a tough Buckeyes defense, except maybe for the completion percentage. 

In the other corner, we have junior defensive tackles Nick Fairley of Auburn and Marcell Dareus of Alabama. These guys may seem a little less enticing than an explosive Da'Quan Bowers off the end or a versatile Newton in the pocket, but a good defensive tackle should never be underestimated. These two have Sapp-like potential.

There are a number of different options the Panthers have. Whoever is selected, if they're an underclassman, might be wishing they stayed to get their degree too after the first couple weeks as a Panther.

Now that Carolina's Luck has changed, I'm betting they take Cam Newton, unless he completely embarrasses himself in the championship game, which is about as likely as the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl. But who knows what they'll do, the ball is in their court, I mean field.