Contrary to popular belief, QB Cameron Newton is not, nor should be, the number one pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. He’s not even the best quarterback.
The Carolina Panthers have bene on the clock since Week 17 of the 2010 regular season. The Panthers and fans everywhere had their hearts set on Stanford QB Andrew Luck. Luck had different plans.
Once Luck announced he would stay in school, the best plan for the Panthers was to trade down and gain draft picks. There is always one team that is willing to jump up and take a risk on a player.
Sometimes teams stay in that top spot, and take a risk. This, however, is not one of those times.
Some mock drafts have the Panthers taking the Heisman Trophy winner with the number one overall pick. However, he does not help your team immediately, unless you are trying to sell tickets.
Newton may be a NFL quarterback, but he is not ready yet. The Panthers are in bigger need of a defensive lineman, such as Auburn DT Nick Fairley or Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers (who could be the replacement the Panthers have been looking for since DE Julius Peppers).
The Panthers do need a quarterback. However, you have already committed millions of dollars to a project quarterback in Jimmy Clausen. Unless there was a ‘can’t miss’ prospect, like Luck, out there, the team needed to wait for a later round.
This team would be better served to sign or trade for a quarterback such as Carson Palmer, a veteran who Clausen could study under for two or three seasons.
While Cincinnati’s asking price is probably too much, that is the type of quarterback this team needs: a veteran who won’t lose the game, won’t make the silly mistakes, and can teach. You are not asking this quarterback to be your franchise, just a stop-gap to find your franchise.
That franchise, is not Cameron Newton. While he is exciting to watch, one of the best quarterbacks ever to play college football, that doesn’t translate to NFL success.
My advice to the Panthers: trade down and build your team, don’t sacrifice success for ticket sales, and most importantly find someone that fits your team, not someone that could run your team.