Tag:nfl combine thursday
Posted on: February 24, 2011 10:47 am
Edited on: February 24, 2011 11:00 am

Where do Panthers go with first pick?

Carolina coach Ron Rivera said Thursday that the Panthers have seven to 10 players targeted for the first pick of the draft and that quarterback is one of the positions that's included.

The question, of course, is whether Carolina would move to take someone like Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton or choose one of the top defensive linemen -- a Da'Quan Bowers or Nick Fairley -- instead. With Rivera a former defensive coordinator, the smart money is on defense, with Carolina waiting to choose a quarterback later or moving to sign one as a free agent.

"It's all part of the evaluating process," said Rivera, who was vague on the subject of quarterbacks. "We're going to wait and see as we go through each month."

The Panthers used their first pick last year on quarterback Jimmy Clausen, but he was underwehelming -- with three TDs, nine interceptions and a passer rating of 58.4. But that's not as much a reflection of Clausen as it was of the team, which was the league's worst.

There has been speculation over what Carolina does with disenchanted wide receiver Steve Smith, with Rivera saying he must study the situation more. But he also said, "We have to do what's best for the Carolina Panthers," and a coach I trust told me Wednesday he doesn't see how the Panthers keep Smith. Smith has hinted at wanting out of Carolina and had his house on the market last year.
Category: NFL
Posted on: February 24, 2011 10:30 am
Edited on: February 24, 2011 11:00 am

Newton to Buffalo? Maybe not

It doesn't sound as if the Buffalo Bills are in the Cam Newton market.

When Bills' coach Chan Gailey on Thursday described Newton as a "big athlete in the Wildcate mode," it didn't sound as if Newton was someone who had his interest. But then Gailey went farther, saying he was "extremely confident" in starter Ryan Fitzpatrick and that he "played well enough until he got to the very end (when he was hurt)."

The Bills have the third pick of the draft, and there has been speculation that they might be interested in Newton. But there's speculation they might be interested in a defensive lineman, too, to shore up a dreadful run defense. After hearing what Gailey had to say about Fitzpatrick I'd be surprised if the Bills don't go for defense.

"I think he proved to a lot of people -- me and my staff -- that he can play well and that we can win a good deal of football games with the guy," Gailey said of Fitzpatrick. 

Speaking of defense, the Bills probably will go to more of a "hybrid" setup, Gailey said, with some four-man fronts. 

"I think it's going to be a little of both," he said.

Buffalo last year switched to the 3-4 but floundered, ranking 24th in yards, 28th in scoring and 32nd vs. the run.
Category: NFL
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