Bad Luck Charm: Who the Carolina Panthers Can Draft Besides Andrew Luck

Preston ParkerCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2011

Bad Luck Charm: Who the Carolina Panthers can Draft besides Andrew Luck

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    With reports of assumed number one overall pick Andrew Luck staying at Stanford, the Carolina Panthers are in quite a tough position.

    With Luck as their first choice, who else can the Panthers grab as their savior? Here are seven players I feel the Panthers could potentially pick. 

    Want to see the Panthers go in a direction than the seven players listed? Feel free to leave it in the comments,

A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

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    Why They Could

    Potentially the best prospect in this draft class, A.J. Green is a flat-out playmaker. At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, he has fantastic size, but also burner speed with some of the best hands in college football. In only nine games, he notched 57 receptions for 848 yards and 9 touchdowns. He also showed up against the team's stiffest competition; he grabbed nine catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns against Auburn.

    Green would provide a target for young quarterback Jimmy Clausen, and would immediately make the Panthers' offense more threatening with running back Jonathan Stewart, a solid offensive line and weapons like David Gettis and Steve Smith in the passing game. They could easily rebound from the last-ranked offense in the league. 

    Why They Won't

    Green was suspended the first four games of this season after selling his jersey to someone who qualified as an agent. While it's no character concern, teams might be worried. Also, the worry of taking a wide receiver No.1 overall could be too much to handle. 

Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas

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    Why They Could

    A quarterback is always a solid way to go. Ryan Mallett, the enormous gunslinger from Arkansas, could be the next best bet.

    At 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds, Mallett has linebacker size and the strongest arm in college football. He could deliver the ball to some of the promising young weapons on the Panthers' offense, and comes from a pro-style offense under Coach Bobby Petrino. 

    Why They Won't

    Major concerns have come out about Ryan Mallett's character. While none of them have been proved true or false, rumors surfaced that he is an avid drug user and a major prima donna. Mallett also has been criticized for extremely sloppy mechanics; often throwing flat footed and relying too much on his immense arm. 

    He's also had trouble coming up in clutch situations, throwing three picks against then-No.1 ranked Alabama and throwing a pick in the waning minutes of the Sugar Bowl against Ohio State with the game on the line. 

Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

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    Why They Could

    Newton was unstoppable for the No. 1 ranked Auburn Tigers. He almost single-handedly revived the program and is the true essence of a playmaker.

    Jimmy Clausen has been a disappointment, and with the success of Tim Tebow and Michael Vick, Newton's mobility could allow for some extremely unique plays to be utilized in Carolina's playbook. Newton also has a rocket arm and has proven he can come up huge in the clutch. 

    Why They Won't

    Gus Malzahn's offense has been called the most "gimmicky offense in America," which leaves question marks as to whether Newton is truly prepared to take snaps from under center. He's had shaky accuracy and only one real year of college experience. 

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

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    Why They Could

    Similar to Mallett (minus the character concerns), Gabbert has immense upside. At 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, Gabbert possesses elite size with a huge arm. He could effectively deliver the ball downfield to players like David Gettis and Steve Smith.

    Gabbert also is much more mobile then Mallett with several runs of more than 20 yards throughout his career. 

    Why They Won't

    Also similar to Mallett, Gabbert has sloppy mechanics and hasn't had the same success as the Arkansas quarterback. While Mallett threw for 32 touchdowns in the stingy defense of the SEC, Gabbert only threw 16 this year in the defensively lacking Big 12. While his completion percentage was better, Gabbert's major statistics declined in his junior season.

    Gabbert also isn't as highly regarded by NFL followers.  Some don't even have him rated as a first round pick. He'll need a huge offseason climb of stock to earn the No. 1 pick. 

Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

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    Why They Could

    While he was previously considered a bust, Bowers finally broke out and dominated the ACC, racking up 16 sacks throughout the year,  As a unanimous All-American selection, Bowers went nine straight games with at least one sack this year.

    Bowers could resemble Julius Peppers with his immense size (6-foot-4 and 280 pounds) and speed.  He could provide a bookend for Charles Johnson to give the Panthers one of the fiercest defensive lines in the NFL.

    Why They Won't

    Bowers was largely ineffective his first two seasons at Clemson. The Panthers also could opt to move ahead with Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson, two young players who showed immense promise in a poor season for Carolina.

Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

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    Why They Could

    The Panthers got exactly four sacks from their defensive tackle position this season.

    Fairley would change that with his quick first step and big body. He could also remedy the Panthers' 23rd ranked run defense, adding an element they simply don't have at the moment.

    Fairley has shown he can dominate against top level competition, notching 11 sacks through the year in the SEC. 

    Why They Won't

    Defensive tackles don't typically make a huge rookie impact. While Fairley is an explosive pass rusher, he's no Ndamukong Suh.

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

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    Why They Could

    Richard Marshall is a free agent, and Patrick Peterson is one of the best cornerbacks to come along in a very long time. His size and speed make him a prototypical NFL cornerback. The Panthers could pair him with Captain Munnerlyn to form an exciting young cornerback duo for the long term.

    Peterson would also provide a spark to a stagnant return game that has had only one return go for more than 50 yards since 2006. He is an all-around playmaker who would provide a lot of talent to an awful team.

    Why They Won't

    Cornerbacks never go first overall, even ones of Peterson's caliber. Peterson has been described as overly aggressive at times and might not be able to make enough of an impact from the cornerback position to warrant such a high pick. If the Panthers re-sign Marshall, they will have two young, proven corners with no need for a third.