Discussion

How Andrew Luck shifted the draft

Five ways in which the shape of the draft has changed because of Luck's decision

Updated: January 7, 2011, 12:56 AM ET
By Mel Kiper | ESPN Insider

On my newly updated Big Board, I discussed why Andrew Luck's decision to stick around Palo Alto for another season hardly qualifies as risky. He has a bright NFL future waiting for him the moment he's ready to leave Stanford. But as it pertains to the rest of the football universe? Well, there will be serious ripples from this decision, starting in Carolina, where it was already clear that the team had every intention of selecting Luck with the No. 1 pick.

But a decision like this affects a lot of people. While it's still early, here are five immediate thoughts that come to mind:

1. The Panthers can shop
The Carolina Panthers just had the easiest first night of the draft completely hijacked. They could have had their pick sitting on the commissioner's podium before the lights were on at Radio City. Instead, they now at least should entertain moving the pick to somebody who really covets a player such as Da'Quan Bowers, an impact defensive end now sitting atop the Big Board, or any other guy a team is convinced fits their system perfectly. That's because in the absence of a total lock at the No. 1 pick, the Panthers can look to move down and pile up draft picks. When you're coming off a two-win season, there's a real possibility the new coach will want to get as many guys he can whom he believes fit his system. Carolina loses out on Luck, but they definitely gained some flexibility in terms of piling up picks.

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