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Carolina Panthers May Be Mulling Drafting A Quarterback First Overall

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We'll randomly check in our hated rivals in the NFC South. Today, the Carolina Panthers.

At one point, it was all but inevitable that our floundering rivals were going to draft Andrew Luck out of Stanford. When Luck decided to stay in college, the Panthers ran out of...him.

But with a depth chart that includes free agent Matt Moore, horrible Jimmy Clausen and project Tony Pike, the Panthers clearly have to address the position this off-season. While they've been linked to a host of free agents, the team is probably going to be cash-strapped after locking up critical free agents like center Ryan Kalil. That would seem to leave the draft.

Could the Panthers go quarterback with the first overall pick? It would be an upset, but it's looking increasingly likely as the buzz around Blaine Gabbert and especially Cameron Newton grows. The Panthers look around the NFC South and see the Falcons with Matt Ryan, Buccaneers with Josh Freeman and Saints with Drew Brees and have to want that caliber of quarterback pretty badly.

Cat Scratch Reader just profiled Gabbert, considered one of two "franchise-type" quarterbacks in the entire draft, but the Panthers are much more likely to go after Newton with the first overall pick. There are questions about the Auburn quarterback's character, but few about his ability. He's naturally gifted as a passer and as a runner, and he would certainly bring fans flocking to Charlotte if the team picked him up.

The Panthers could certainly trade down and try to make a run at one of these guys, but I've got a hunch they'll pull the trigger on Newton at the top of the draft. It would certainly give the NFC South one of the best sets of quarterbacks in the NFL, and it might—might—accelerate the Panthers' return to their salad days.

Obviously, I hope not.