- David Newton, ESPN Staff Writer
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Hall of Famer Deion Sanders answered that question -- sort of -- on Wednesday by selecting Luck over Newton with the first pick on the second day of the inaugural Pro Bowl Draft.
The honorary captain also took Newton, with his second pick, after Hall of Famer Jerry Rice passed on the opportunity to pair Newton with the Carolina coaching staff. The honorary captain for the Ron Rivera-coached team selected New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham with his first second-day pick.
Of course, having Saints quarterback Drew Brees on his selection committee might have swayed that one.
But regardless, Luck went before Newton. And in reality, that likely would have happened in 2011 had the former Stanford quarterback come out after his sophomore season when he was projected to be the top pick to Carolina.
But amidst speculation that he didn't want to go to Carolina -- which he never confirmed -- Luck returned to Stanford and the Panthers chose Newton out of Auburn.
The Panthers really coveted Luck. There were reports they would take him No. 1 before he opted to stay in school.
So in reality, Sanders kept Rivera from getting Luck a second time -- not to mention getting Newton.
Sanders also made sure Newton wasn't being chased by Carolina middle linebacker Luke Kuechly and defensive end Greg "The Kraken'' Hardy. He drafted Kuechly in the eighth round and Hardy, who led the team with 15 sacks, in the 11th.
Thanks to Sanders he didn't have that option with Newton, who by the way did go ahead of San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers, Kansas City Chiefs' Alex Smith, and the Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles.