Tag:2011 NFL Draft
Posted on: January 4, 2011 4:44 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2011 4:59 pm
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Report: Panthers would take Luck No. 1 overall

Posted by Will Brinson

This may come as less of a surprise than the recent John Fox firing in Carolina, but word on the street is the Panthers would take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick if he leaves school early.

This report comes from as about as good a source as it can, Pat Yasinskas of ESPN, who spent a long time as the Panthers beat writer for the Charlotte Observer and who is currently in Charlotte.

Of course, one might not even need Yasinskas' sources in this case -- in his press conference Tuesday, Jerry Richardson said the Panthers wouldn't trade down if given the opportunity. Additionally, Jimmy Clausen was the worst quarterback in the NFL by almost any stretch of the imagination, and Luck is considered a stone-cold lock as the top prospect in the NFL Draft this year.

The possibility that the Panthers could open up the pick to trades still remains, if only because of the ridiculous value that Luck offers to a plethora of teams in need of a quarterback. But if Richardson's true to his word, the only obstacle is whether or not Luck comes out and is willing to play for the Panthers. 

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Posted on: January 2, 2011 11:07 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2011 12:04 am
 

2011 NFL Draft order drastically altered by West

Posted by Will Brinson

Anyone who's a fan of teams that didn't make the playoffs is asking two questions. First, "Are we going to fire [head coach's name]?" You can figure that answer out at our NFL Hot Seat Tracker.

The second question people are asking is, "Where will [my favorite team] pick in the NFL Draft?"

If you, like me, root for the Panthers, the answer is easy: No. 1. But after that, things get a little murkier, especially with the NFC West "title game" creating such a swing.

When the Seahawks won and became the first playoff team with a losing record, they actually ended up with the 21st overall (or higher if they win a game in the playoffs) pick, despite going 7-9 in the regular season. The rest of the draft will look like this, courtesy of Matt Pomeroy, Manager of NFL Network Research:

1. Carolina
2. Denver
3. Buffalo
4. Cincinnati
5. Arizona
6. Cleveland
7. San Francisco
8. Tennessee
9. Dallas
10. Washington
11. Houston
12. Minnesota
13. Detroit
14. St. Louis
15. Miami
16. Jacksonville
17. New England (from Oakland)
18. San Diego
19. New York Giants
20. Tampa Bay

On the other hand, if the Rams had won, they'd obviously have seen a spike in the spot they picked. And Seattle would, um, well, you can see right here:

1. Carolina
2. Denver
3. Buffalo
4. Cincinnati
5. Arizona
6. Cleveland
7. San Francisco
8. Seattle
9. Tennessee
10. Dallas
11. Washington
12. Houston
13. Minnesota
14. Detroit
15. Miami
16. Jacksonville
17. New England (from Oakland)
18. San Diego
19. New York Giants
20. Tampa Bay

So, yeah, HUGE difference for both teams based on the outcome of the game. Either way, it's pretty obvious that, well, the NFC West stinks. But on the bright side, maybe the Rams can find someone with hands at 14 (A.J. Green? Julio Jones?) to help out Sam Bradford.
Posted on: December 26, 2010 9:18 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2010 10:05 pm
 

Tebow helps Panthers clinch No. 1 draft pick

Posted by Will Brinson

The Carolina Panthers are on the clock for the 2011 NFL Draft. And so are the New England Patriots (at least on the second day anyway -- the Panthers sent their second-rounder to New England in exchange for the wonderful shot at turning Armanti Edwards from a FCS quarterback into an NFL wide receiver).

That's because Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos stormed back on the Houston Texans and pulled off a semi-miraculous comeback to win 24-23. The Broncos needed to lose out and have the Panthers beat the Falcons in order to "win" the top overall pick.

This means the next meaningful deadline for Panthers fans becomes January 15th, when Carolina will learn whether or not Andrew Luck, the highly coveted junior quarterback at Stanford, declares for the NFL draft.

The ramifications of his decision are pretty widespread. If Luck enters the draft, the Panthers have to decide if they like Jimmy Clausen enough to pass up the chance to pull the trigger on Luck (and, perhaps, a combo of Luck and current Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh). They could also choose to trade the chance at grabbing the potential franchise QB, as there are plenty of teams that might be interested in moving up in the draft.

But maybe Luck won't even go pro -- Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Football Night in America reports that, having talked to Harbaugh, "academics are important to Luck" and Harbaugh doesn't believe the junior will leave early. (Although a quick purview of any basic mathematics class will inform him how much money he's missing out on by playing college football.)

In the possible event of Luck returning to college, he'll hurt the Panthers leverage in the top spot of the draft (regardless of how much is owed to the No. 1 pick) and he'll likely turn the draft world upside down.

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Posted on: December 24, 2010 12:41 am
Edited on: December 24, 2010 1:06 am
 

Panthers need to move on from Clausen, already

Posted by Will Brinson



As expected, the only interesting thing to come from the Heinz Field on Thursday -- at least from the Panthers perspective -- was whether or not Jimmy Clausen is the team's quarterback of the future. 

The answer, after a 27-3 beatdown in which Carolina posted 119 total yards (the second-lowest total in franchise history),  is a pretty resounding, "No."

And honestly, it's the only area of immediate concern for the Panthers. John Fox is as good as gone and there are plenty of free agents sitting out there that will need to be signed. But more pressing is the need for a quarterback that can actually become a competent passer. Clausen's not that guy, and it seems that everyone outside of Carolina knows it.

The question is whether or not GM Marty Hurney and owner Jerry Richardson can admit the organization made a mistake in the second round last year and move on as well. (Not that Clausen is the only flub in recent history -- there's the 2011 second-rounder the Patriots have which landed the Panthers Armanti Edwards and there's the lost first-rounder in 2010 that landed the Panthers Everette Brown, most notably.)

If they can, Andrew Luck is most likely theirs, barring the entire city of Atlanta collapsing in on itself within the next 10 days; even the backups would probably handle the 'Cats if the Falcons have already clinched homefield advantage.

If the Panthers do secure the top selection in the draft (only a win against Atlanta and Denver losing out would drop them to second), there's still plenty of intrigue though.

Quarterback-needy teams will abound in the top part of the draft, as Cincinnati, Arizona, Buffalo, San Francisco, Washington, Minnesota, and Seattle are all potential top-10 teams that would love to get their paws on a franchise guy like Luck.

That turns the top pick, especially with the Panthers sans a second-rounder, into a potential goldmine.

There's also the labor situation to dissect. If a rookie wage scale is in place (or will be in place), taking a potential franchise guy like Luck with the top pick is much more palpable than it would be if it required the $50 million in guaranteed that Sam Bradford earned in 2010.

The good news for the Panthers is Richardson's intimate knowledge of the labor negotiations (he's one of the leaders in terms of NFL owners negotiating the collective bargaining agreement) mean they'll know as early as anyone what to expect in terms of how a new collective bargaining agreement might alter rookie salaries. (The Panthers top pick, then, also might lend a clue to the general progress of a new CBA at the time, provided there's still a lockout in progress.)

The bad news is that the labor strife might mean no new coaching staff in Charlotte by the time the draft rolls around, which puts the onus for draft picks entirely on Hurney and Co. And if the front office remains stubborn in its support of Clausen -- which is entirely possible -- there's a chance they could miss the franchise quarterback they've never had in Luck.

That seems impossible given the team's abysmal performance on Thursday night. But then again, a two-win season never seemed likely in September, either.

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Posted on: December 12, 2010 3:04 pm
 

Cam Newton discusses his potential NFL future

Posted by Will Brinson

Cam Newton cruised to the Heisman Trophy last night, thankfully avoiding a scandal in which we had to wonder whether or not we'd wrecked a young man's career without any actual proof that he did anything wrong.

But I digress, because I don't care how much people pay folks in college as long as they end up gracing the fields of the NFL, which Cam Newton will do at some point. Perhaps, even, as soon as 2011, given how much scrutiny he's under at Auburn right now. (Seriously, if you win the Heisman and maybe win the BCS Championship, you go pro. You just do. It's worth more than whatever Mississippi State was going to pay.)

He joined the crew at the mothership on The NFL Today to talk about winning the trophy and if he'd thought about the NFL and how his game would translate to the NFL.



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Posted on: December 12, 2010 11:35 am
 

Report: Luck will only leave if Harbaugh's gone

Posted by Will Brinson

Even though Cam Newton's the "best player in college football" (or whatever you want to call the Heisman Trophy winner), Andrew Luck is the current prize of the 2011 NFL Draft.

However, a report from ESPN's Chris Mortensen on Sunday indicated that Luck might not actually be available.

"Sources familiar with the thought process say Luck is more likely to return for his junior season if Jim Harbaugh remains his coach," Mortensen said. Potential injury and loss of wages will not weigh as heavily -- Luck planned on four years and a college degree."

In other words, the only real way to lure Harbaugh out is to get him hired by an NFL team (or another college team). The Panthers stand out as an obvious location for both guys, because they'll need a new coach after 2010 and are likely to hold the top spot in the NFL Draft.

However, Mort notes the Panthers would need "a stroke of luck" to get Harbaugh, who apparently would prefer staying on the West Coast.

That makes the position of the San Francisco 49ers very, very interesting because if the Niners hired Harbaugh, they'd probably be unlikely to grab Luck without making a deal. Given the strong connection between Luck and his coach, there's no question they'd be interested in moving up, but they certainly wouldn't be able to pretend they aren't desperate.

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Posted on: November 30, 2010 11:58 am
 

Locker: 'It would be awesome' to be a Seahawk

Posted by Will Brinson

At one point, Jake Locker was like the greatest prospect to ever enter college and a surefire No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Since then, his draft stock has done a very impressive "Brady Quinn in the green room" impersonation, but, hey, having three games with more than 20 attempts and less than 75 yards passing in your senior season will do that to you.

Still, he's the top senior quarterback in the draft and, according to our NFL Draft Scout friend Chad Reuter, somewhere in a mishmash of Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett after Andrew Luck on the boards, which means he's probably a late first-round pick, depending on what teams land there. And if one of those teams happens to be the QB-needy Seattle Seahawks, well, Locker won't be totally not-stoked to play under Pete Carroll.

"I think it would be awesome," Locker said Monday when asked on 710 ESPN Seattle (via Mocking the Draft) if he'd like to play for the Seahawks. "I would have no opposition to that at all."

This is for two reasons. One, Locker would get to play in Washington for high school, college and the pros, something that's obscenely rare for NFL'ers (Julius Peppers, until jumping to the Bears, is the only one that jumps to mind, though it was pointed out on Twitter Mark Tauscher also did it with the Packers in Wisconsin).

And two, it would probably mean that he won't plummet to the second round after previously being considered such a stone-cold lock for the top spot in the draft. Unless he totally eggs the Combine, etc., in which case he could end up in a Jimmy Clausen situation where he falls just far enough for a QB-needy team to swoop him up early in the second or something.

But the point is this: Jake Locker wouldn't mind playing in Seattle. His only problem is hoping that Seattle does well enough this year in order to avoid a top-20 pick, otherwise he'll just be considered a reach.

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