If you haven't read this story yet from Joe Person about the eight primary candidates for the Carolina Panthers and their No.1 pick, you should. Go ahead, I'll wait.
OK, finished? Now here are my thoughts on what the Panthers should do with that No.1 pick they earned by virtue of their 2-14 record in 2010. I haven't moved much off my position stated in this blog a month ago -- that the best option is to either pick Auburn DT Nick Fairley or trade the pick.
But I am OK with one more option now, too -- drafting Auburn QB Cam Newton.
As I've said before, Fairley reminds me of Kris Jenkins in his prime at Carolina, before he got too fat and his knees could no longer support that enormous body. Jenkins made life so much easier for everyone else on the defense -- but particularly the Panther linebackers and their defensive ends -- because he either took up two blockers on every play or he disrupted everything.
Like Jenkins, Fairley has his own baggage. But I’d still pick him over Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers. I’d do that in part because the Panthers need DT help more than DE help (this is assuming they keep Charles Johnson, of course).
But... and this is a big but... I'm all right now with drafting Cam Newton, too.
The more I think about it, the more I believe picking Newton would be worth the risk on character issues and strong-but-erratic arm issues. He wins everywhere he goes, and he's charismatic and he plays what is easily the most important position on the field. I like him more than Blaine Gabbert, who strikes me as a little too similar to Jimmy Clausen. Keep his father way, wa-a-a-a-y away from everything, and I think he could work out here, too.
So with less than two months to go before the draft, I'm restating my position from my Jan.28th blog just a little. With the No.1 pick, I believe the Panthers should either pick Fairley, pick Newton or trade it away.