AFC East: Marty Hurney
There's a belief that if the Carolina Panthers don't select Auburn quarterback Cam Newton first overall Thursday night, then the Buffalo Bills will have the chance with the third pick.
ESPN reporter Sal Paolantonio gives the latest on what the Panthers are thinking after speaking with Panthers general manager Marty Hurney.
Jason Taylor? Signed.
Greg Ellis? Signed.
Julius Peppers? Signed.
The list of pass-rushers linked to the New England Patriots looks thinner than Manute Bol in a girdle.
Peppers finally signed his one-year franchise tender Wednesday for the Carolina Panthers. On a conference call, Panthers general manager Marty Hurney told reporters this isn't the first step to a sign-and-trade deal. Hurney said they intend to keep Peppers.
"We want Julius Peppers here," Hurney said. "This one-year contract was signed with the intention of him coming to training camp on Aug. 2 with the Carolina Panthers."
NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas breaks down why Peppers probably will remain a Panther.
But speculation was rampant before the draft that the Patriots were on the verge of trading for Peppers. It sounded like a formality. Peppers had announced his desire to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. The Patriots happen to be a 3-4 team and haven't brought in a proven veteran to replace Mike Vrabel.
The Patriots aren't convinced. Owner Robert Kraft twice made public statements that Taylor had a Gillette Stadium locker waiting for him, and the Dallas Morning News reported last week the Patriots offered Ellis a contract.
So what big names are left to wonder about?
Oakland Raiders defensive end Derrick Burgess is the most notable possibility. The two-time Pro Bowler doesn't like his contract. He has skipped voluntary workouts. He showed up for mandatory minicamp but sat out with a tummy ache.
Ellis, who the Raiders signed to a three-year deal nine days ago, has been playing in Burgess' spot at left defensive end.