Carolina is in a tough situation. One year ago they traded Jake Delhomme, and made the decision to move forward with a new QB. They added Jimmy Clausen and Tony Pike from the college level. In addition to also having some career backup quarterbacks Keith Null and Matt Moore.
Quarterback is not a deep position in this draft. If the Panthers believe they need a QB, and I'm not sure they do. They must use the No. 1 overall pick in the draft to get one of any real value. By the time they choose again in the 2011 draft, there won't be anyone available that's any better than the guys they have.
If the Panthers choose to go QB, then whom should they select?
This is a heavily debated question. Blaine Gabbert or Cameron Newton, and basically that all there is. Neither of them have the body of work that NFL general managers like to see. The numbers they were able to achieve in a short time span is incredible.
A good pro day put Gabbert ahead of Newton in most people's opinion. Whereas the pro day can be overrated, the Panthers owner has said publicly that he did want to take a guy with off-the-field issues. Many would believe that eliminates Newton from possible selection.
Gabbert vs. Newton
Who would you take with the first pick?
Gabbert, 6'5", 240 pounds, is a pro-style QB. He's played 13 games in each of the last two seasons. In 2010 he passed for 3,186 yards, and 3,593 in 2009. Those would be high passing yards in the NFL, but that was at the college level.
Against the best CB he faced Prince Amukamara he lost 31-17, and threw for 199 yards, rushing for 72 yards.
His worst game ironically wasn't against the best CB, or even a good pass defense. He only threw for 95 yards against Texas Tech, and was held to eight yards on the ground.
Blaine Gabbert 2010
|Date||Opponent||Surface||Result||Rush Yards||Pass Yards||Plays||Total Yards||Yards/Play|
|09/04/10||+ Illinois||Turf||W 23-13||-10||281||53||271||5.1|
|09/11/10||McNeese St.||Turf||W 50-6||-11||220||33||209||6.3|
|09/18/10||San Diego St.||Turf||W 27-24||-9||351||58||342||5.9|
|09/25/10||Miami (Ohio)||Turf||W 51-13||20||187||30||207||6.9|
|10/16/10||@ 19 Texas A&M||Grass||W 30-9||-22||361||51||339||6.6|
|10/23/10||6 Oklahoma||Turf||W 36-27||26||308||50||334||6.7|
|10/30/10||@ 20 Nebraska||Turf||L 17-31||74||199||64||273||4.3|
|11/06/10||@ Texas Tech||Turf||L 17-24||8||95||35||103||2.9|
|11/13/10||Kansas St.||Turf||W 38-28||89||208||39||297||7.6|
|11/20/10||@ Iowa St.||Grass||W 14-0||37||172||32||209||6.5|
|11/27/10||+ Kansas||Grass||W 35-7||31||179||37||210||5.7|
|12/28/10||+ Iowa||Grass||L 24-27||-7||434||70||427||6.1|
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
|@ : Away, + : Neutral Site|
Newton, 6'5", 248 pounds, won the Heisman Trophy and the National Championship. Those two things have historically went against past winners of both. A dark cloud of suspicion has followed him from Florida to Auburn.
ESPN writer James Walker sees Newton as the best candidate for future bust. He had Newton going to the Cincinnati Bengals, which you have to question that right there. Will he fall past Buffalo if Gabbert is also available? That might be the only way he does, if Carolina goes defense. Which is a very high possibility.
Cameron Newton 2010
|09/04/10||Arkansas St.||Grass||W 52-26||14||9||64.3||186||13.3||3||0||246.61|
|09/09/10||@ 15 Mississippi St.||Grass||W 17-14||19||11||57.9||136||7.2||2||1||142.24|
|09/25/10||22 South Carolina||Grass||W 35-27||21||16||76.2||158||7.5||2||0||170.82|
|10/09/10||@ Kentucky||Grass||W 37-34||21||13||61.9||210||10.0||0||1||136.39|
|10/16/10||12 Arkansas||Grass||W 65-43||14||10||71.4||140||10.0||1||0||179.00|
|10/23/10||8 LSU||Grass||W 24-17||16||10||62.5||86||5.4||0||0||107.65|
|10/30/10||@ Mississippi||Turf||W 51-31||24||18||75.0||209||8.7||2||0||175.65|
|11/26/10||@ 10 Alabama||Grass||W 28-27||20||13||65.0||216||10.8||3||0||205.22|
|12/04/10||+ 22 South Carolina||Turf||W 56-17||28||17||60.7||335||12.0||4||0||208.35|
|01/10/11||+ 3 Oregon||Grass||W 22-19||34||20||58.8||265||7.8||2||1||137.82|
|@ : Away, + : Neutral Site|
Run-first QBs have not done well in the NFL, but having a Vick-type option in the backfield isn't a bad thing. I don't think he's a run-first QB, and with the exception of Chattanooga, I saw every game he played at Auburn. He was money on big passes when he needed them most.
Ron Rivera and the Defense
We all know that Rivera is a defensive-minded coach. The team is loaded at the running back position. They have some strong pieces on the defensive side of the ball. They are missing the elite defensive end to give them a pass rush. Losing Julius Peppers killed them defensively.
The Panthers have three guys would could give them the much needed pass rush. Von Miller from Texas A&M had a good pro day workout, and he could play the DE position. Auburn DT Nick Fairley is a strong defensive lineman, and he was really a Cam Newton on the Tigers defense.
Marcell Dareus had gone ahead of both Miller and Fairley. He could play DT or DE, and scouts believe he's NFL ready right now. He's the safe pick if Carolina doesn't want to gamble at QB. They obviously feel they lost with Clausen, or they wouldn't be considering QB with the first pick one year later.
So who are you picking?
I would take the safe pick with Marcell Dareus. Give Clausen and Moore another year to mature. It's hard to call anyone a bust after one year, and especially at QB.