I wrote my column today on why Carolina should use its No.1 overall draft choice on Cam Newton.
I started thinking seriously about this No.1 pick about three months ago, when The Observer sent me to the Orange Bowl to take a firsthand look at Stanford QB Andrew Luck (who then was thought to be the likely No.1 pick as long as he came out of Stanford early, which of course he didn't). I loved Luck, and I still think he has Peyton Manning potential. That would have been Carolina's ideal scenario, but he stayed in school. Good for him, bad for Carolina.
After that, I bounced around. I had fallen in love with the idea of Luck coming to Carolina, and so I wasn't really sure what the Panthers should do next when that option was taken away. I used to think Newton's teammate, DT Nick Fairley, would be the best selection. I went through a time where I thought trading down might be the best option for Carolina (and this certainly remains a viable one).
But I've finally settled on Newton, because he plays the most important position on the field, I don't think Jimmy Clausen is the answer, Newton is incredibly athletic and I see Michael Vick's (on-field) potential in him.
That's where I'd go with this pick. Best player, most important position, Heisman Trophy winner, national championship winner. It doesn't seem that complicated, does it?
NFL schedule will be released Wednesday at 8 p.m.
11 hours ago