Packers Await Panthers' Choice

For the Green Bay Packers, who hold the 32nd pick, the most important pick in the whole draft is what Carolina does at No. 1. The Sports Xchange's Len Pasquarelli and Packer Report's Bill Huber provide a tag-team explanation.

Many NFL teams enter this draft needing a quarterback.

The Green Bay Packers are not among them, which is no small matter.

Teams that require a quarterback will pay extra heed to what the Carolina Panthers do with the first pick overall on April 28. Because the direction the Panthers take with the top choice could determine a lot about how and when some teams will have to react to fill their quarterback needs.

One team that figures to grab a quarterback in the second or third round, for instance, noted to The Sports Xchange last week that if the Panthers tab a non-quarterback with the first pick, it might signal that Carolina plans to snatch a passer at the top of the third round. The Panthers do not have a second-round pick, having shipped it to New England last year to move up and take wide receiver Armanti Edwards in the third round. And that could precipitate a wild scramble among those clubs that have targeted a quarterback in the second or third stanzas.

"The thinking in some spots will be, 'Well, we've got to get ahead of Carolina (with the first pick in Round 3),' and that might mean having to force your way into the bottom of the first round or reacting in the second to get your guy," said one general manager. "On the other hand, if Carolina takes Newton (first), you could see a little bit of a run (on quarterbacks). Either way, it's probably going to mean that some quarterback with a second-round grade squeezes into the first. Or some guy you might have waited to take in the third round goes (in the second). In a lot of ways, what Carolina does is a big tip-off key."

Either way, that's great news for the Packers. If there's a run on quarterbacks in the first round, they'll have a larger pool of talent to choose from with the 32nd pick of the first round. And if the Panthers don't take a quarterback with that first overall pick, the Packers' pick at No. 64 could be in high demand, since that's the last selection before Carolina leads off the third round.

Amazingly, given the need for quarterbacks in recent seasons, there have been only 21 passers chosen total in the second rounds of the last 20 drafts. Only twice in that period have more than two quarterbacks gone off the board in the second round, and there was a stretch of four years, 2002 though 2005, when there were zero second-round quarterbacks. It hasn't been a particularly good round for drafting quarterbacks, but that figures to end this year.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.


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