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Monday, March 7, 2011
Panthers to get another look at Newton

By Pat Yasinskas

We’ve got a list of notable pro day workouts around the country over on our NFL Nation blog.

But the day that jumps out most to me is Tuesday. That’s when Auburn has its pro day. Carolina coach Ron Rivera already has said he’ll be there and I’m sure he’s going to have a ton of company from his coaching staff and front office.

There’s a decent chance that Carolina could use the No. 1 overall pick on an Auburn player. Quarterback Cam Newton and defensive tackle Nick Fairley are being mentioned as top-five candidates by a lot of draft gurus. The Panthers have been sending out some rumblings lately that they’re not necessarily locked into a defensive lineman.

That, of course, came after most early mock drafts had them taking either Fairley or Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers. Maybe the latest rumblings are a smoke screen to try to throw the rest of the league off or to try to get a team to trade up to the No. 1 pick. Or maybe the rumblings are true.

I know fans seem to be very divided on Newton and I agree that he’s got lots of upside and perhaps some downside. But it doesn’t matter what fans or draft experts think. All that really matters is what the Panthers ultimately decide.

There’s no question they’ll do something dramatic at quarterback this offseason. Maybe it will be the addition of a veteran through free agency or the draft. Or maybe it will be Newton or Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert.

Truth be told, I don’t think the Panthers have decided anything for certain yet. General manager Marty Hurney is a methodical guy, who likes to go through a process and wait for an answer to become apparent.

Newton’s workout will be one more step in that process.