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2011 NFL Draft Rumors: Panthers New GM Hints Newton Is #1, Game On For Cowboys

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It's far from an assurance, but new Panthers GM Marty Hurney said today on Sports 730 Charlotte that he probably will not be trading the #1 pick. When asked directly about drafting a quarterback at number 1, he replied:

Timing wise, any time you bring in a new coaching staff, I think you evaluate that position...

This is a quarterback league... With all the rule changes, that really benefit the offense, and the advantages that the passing game has these days, this is a quarterback league. Look at the draft, the ones who got em are picking low, the ones who don't are picking high....

Anytime you're at number one... in the top 5... most of the franchise quarterbacks are taken in the top 5. When you're this high, you have to look at the quarterbacks. Now everything goes back to Jimmy Clausen, this has nothing to do with Jimmy Clausen.

I've been on the Newton-number 1 train before it became popular, because it falls under one of my main football edicts. New regimes want to attach themselves to their franchise quarterback and Carolina would do the same.

Now Hurney didn't commit to the Auburn signal caller and Heisman Trophy winner, but the team has largely been reported to favor Newton over Missouri's Blaine Gabbert. As stated earlier, this isn't an assurance, but I believe we will start seeing Newton to Carolina written in more confident tones. The other quarterback Carolina was rumored to be interested in, Arkansas' Ryan Mallet, seems to have shot himself in the foot one too many times to be considered for a top 35 pick.

-- If the Cowboys trade down with St. Louis, the intelligence of the move will be mitigated by whom Detroit takes off the board at #13. The Detroit Free Press lists their draft board as such, from rotoworld.com:

Beat writer Dave Birkett suggests the Lions will pull the trigger on Amukamara if he falls to No. 13 while Jimmy Smith would be a fallback option in a trade-down scenario. Detroit seems to favor Tyron Smith over Castonzo at tackle, but the former could be gone in the top-12 picks. Birkett suggest Aldon Smith would be the pick only if Amukamara, Bowers, and Tyron Smith are off the board.

-- According to ohio.com, Browns GM Tom Heckert has a two-player wish list for pick #6.

His wish list for the sixth overall pick will contain only two players. If neither one is available, he'll seek a trade.

Now, most rumors I've come across have it that the Browns are keen on WR AJ Green, a given seeing their wideout depth chart. Heckert was in Philly when Terrell Owens transformed that offense from great to dynamic, so he is acutely aware of the impact Green or Jones would have here.  The team also needs a big defensive upgrade, and the Cleveland Plain-Dealer predicts a secondary of Haden-Peterson-Ward;  good times in Cleveland. If the Cowboys want Peterson, they might have to target #5.

Follow the jump for more rumors and conjecture.

-- In the trade back up into the first round scenario we all have been discussing, Seattle Times writer Danny O'Neil doesn't believe the Seahawks have any interest in Jake Locker. If Locker does fall into this range, then a team with a 2nd round in the 30's could easily offer Seattle more immediate returns than Dallas could.

-- Yahoo Sports has this report that former pro scout Dave Razzone feels that Jake Locker is a 'Brett Favre' clone. Before you dismiss him as a 'former' scout, rotoworld.com reports Razzone was fired from the Rams for refusing to back off his stance that Alex Smith would never be starting material. I've had Locker as a mid first round pick for a while now, all it takes is one team to believe in you.

-- Shawn Zoebel of Draftheadquarters.com (my current favorite source, since more than a few of his inside tips matched my thoughts) has the following tweets today:

Report: Houston is seriously considering trading up for Patrick Peterson or Von Miller. Willing to go as high as Top 5less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

 

Last night on Sports Wrap with @Joe_Schmit, I reported that the Vikings are keying in on Florida OG Mike Pouncey with their 1st RD pickless than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

 

In a perfect world for Minnesota, they could trade down 4-5 spots, add the third round pick they don't have, and still get Pounceyless than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

 

-- Peter King of Sports Illustrated published his Monday Morning quarterback this morning. Interesting tidbits:

The concern over Baylor DT Phil Taylor's foot injury has subsided. Expect Taylor to be in play anywhere after pick #20.

There's a team looking to trade up to NE's second first rounder, for a 2nd and next year's first. I mention this to try and put to bed the question over whether future year picks are on the table. They are.

-- Tampa Bay is moving on from former first round pick, CB Aqib Talib. According to Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times, Talib is 'all but gone' from the club. Expect CB to be a top priority for Raheem Morris come later this week. NOLA.com says the Saints are not competition for a corner.