With plenty of speculation that the Carolina Panthers will take either quarterback Cam Newton of Auburn of Blaine Gabbert of Missouri with the No. 1 overall draft pick on Aug. 28, Panthers GM Marty Hurney said the decision is still up in the air.
“I can tell you right now we have not made a decision," Hurney said today on The Mac Attack on WFNZ, courtesy of Sportsradiointerviews.com. "Now, I think you always have an order in your mind and it can change. I think we’re constantly trying to….this is a critical decision, so you want to try to be open-minded and objective and really make sure you’re going down the right path. I do think this is a year you can probably have five or six different teams up there, and each one of them might have a different guy that they pick No. 1. Selecting a good player at No. 1 — I hope we could do that. The thing that you’re dealing with at 1 is it’s the player that will have the most impact on your organization; you don’t want to be up here all the time. And you want to get the player that has the most impact on your organization."
But Hurney does believe he needs to look at one position first. No surprise there about which position.
"To start, you have to look at the quarterbacks and see if there’s an elite guy up there," he said. "All you have to do is look at the draft order — teams at the bottom have elite quarterbacks. Teams up top, don’t. I mean, it’s real simple; it’s not hard. So you have to look at those first, and if you don’t and you get through that and there’s not an elite quarterback, then I think you go to the position that you think has the most impact on your football team after that.”
Hurney said he dismissed negative talk about Cam Newton, especially on the heels of some scathing remarks from Pro Football Weekly columnist Nolan Nawrocki, who said many teams see Newton falling.
"I don’t pay much attention to all that other stuff," he said. "First of all I guess I read they said [Nawrocki] has never met Cam Newton, so who’s he talking to? I mean, he said he’s talked to decision makers — well we have the No. 1 pick and he’s never talked to me. So I don’t know, could he be talking to people who want to put smoke screens out there to get him? You don’t know. Everybody’s got an agenda in what they do, and really, he did his job — he’s selling books, he’s gotten a lot of attention out of this. So I don’t know. These things are all what I think make the NFL so popular because there’s so much to talk about, and we have so many people with opinions now and everyone is different. But the bottom line is we’re going to have to make a decision that we’re going to have to live with, and it’s going to be a critical decision for our franchise. So we’re spending a lot of time on all the top guys up there."