Panthers still weighing options at No. 1
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney insists he's still undecided and his phone isn't ringing as he prepares to use the top pick in next week's NFL draft.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday night, Hurney was quick to praise Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, but stressed they've made no final decision and haven't received an offer from another team to move up to No. 1.
"If the draft was tomorrow we could go ahead and make decisions," Hurney said, "but we have a week left and we're going to continue to refine those decisions."
Newton has become the popular choice for Carolina in various mock drafts. The 6-foot-5 Newton took college football by storm in his only season as a starter in 2010 when he won the Heisman Trophy and led the Tigers to the national championship.
But there are numerous questions about his character stemming from a 2008 arrest after buying a stolen computer and the NCAA investigation into allegations his father solicited money during his recruitment.
Others have questioned Newton's work ethic and his ability to adapt to a more complicated pro-style offense.
"Obviously, like the rest of the players that are at the top of the board, we've spent a lot of time with Cam. It's been a very good experience," Hurney said. "I think he's a very talented player that is extremely competitive. I think being successful in the NFL is very important to him."
The Panthers desperately need help on offense after managing 16 touchdowns in a miserable 2-14 season in 2010. But the Panthers also need reinforcements on the defensive line, which could make Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus a safer option with the top pick.
Another scenario, especially with Carolina being without a second-round pick, would be to move down in the draft and obtain extra picks. Hurney said he's yet to receive any offers.
"Next week is usually when people start calling around," Hurney said.
Hurney, who said they've completed all individual meetings with draft prospects, was vague on whether he'd accept an offer to move down.
He also laughed off a direct question on who they'll take No. 1.
"We've got a week. Who knows?" Hurney said. "At the end of the day, you just want to make the right selection."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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