Andrew Luck Stays: Carolina Panthers Look Elsewhere in NFL Draft

George AndersonAnalyst IIJanuary 6, 2011

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 03: Orange bowl MVP Andrew Luck of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates after Stanford won 40-12 against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Because the season wasn’t bad enough, now Carolina Panther faithful have another thing to cry about. Luck thinks he’ll have enough brain cells after football to be an architect and has chosen that over being the No.1 pick.

Luck decides to return knowing that Harbaugh has a very little chance of returning. He probably figures that if Sam Bradford can do it, then so can he.

What’s next for the Carolina Panthers? Here are a few scenarios…

1. The Panthers choose to keep the No. 1 pick and draft someone like A.J. Green, Marcel Dareus or any one of the top corners. Who knows, they may even go after Cam Newton if he has a good game against Oregon.

2. The Panthers trade back and draft best player available while getting more picks. This is the most likely scenario, but without Luck in the draft the value of the No. 1 pick is not as high. There’s still plenty of time for someone to just explode up the draft board, but Carolina will not be able to ask their price.

This is very unfortunate news for Carolina, but it is time to think on the bright side. Jimmy Clausen will still be the Panthers quarterback, but I do feel we need a veteran on the roster to mentor him. Everyone who supports Clausen will be happy because he will have his chance to prove himself now. Also, Clausen will have a year under his belt, he’s been humbled, and he should see this as a second chance.

The impact on the rest of the team will be intriguing to see. Those frustrated with Clausen better get used to him. Those who like him better help out more. They can still make a go at this.

The offseason will be different for Carolina, but in a bad way. Bringing in a new Head Coach with his choice of quarterback probably will not happen now. Carolina having the first pick is not as special because there is no clear favorite with Luck gone. Carolina will fall on many coaches’ lists for employment.

Not only will the coaching situation change, but how this impacts Carolina’s involvement in free agency will be interesting to watch. Players buy into hype, and when they hear a guy like Luck is coming to a team they feel like the opportunity would be better there.

Without Luck, the Panthers could be facing free agents who just see a 2-14 team with many of the same players, the same quarterback, and they may be more reluctant to go to Carolina now.

Then again, the panthers may draft Cam Newton who carries a lot of hype. With Newton, players and coaches may think he’s a more mobile version of Luck. If Newton wins the BCS Championship and handedly, look for Newton’s name to rise to the top and maybe Carolina will have a mobile quarterback for the first time, ever.

All is not lost. It is a setback but it can be overcome. Whether the Panthers select another quarterback or decide to address other needs and leave the QB spot open, they still have the pieces to make a go of it. Worst case scenario, we suck, we get the first pick again, and we make Luck the first pick next year before he has time to decide.