Panthers Eyeing 8-10 Players, Including Cam Newton, for No. 1 Pick
"You look around the league, and teams that have guys that can attack you vertically are the ones that are very tough," Rivera said at a news conference Thursday morning at the NFL scouting combine. "We've got to find a situation like that, whether that guy's on our roster and we can develop him, or whether we have to find him in the draft."
Rivera said the Panthers had 8-10 players they were looking at for the No. 1 pick. He said some of those players are quarterbacks, and he said one of those quarterbacks is Auburn's Heisman Trophy winner and national champion Cam Newton.
"He's got a lot going for him," Rivera said of Newton. "He's a tall, powerful young man. He's got great athletic ability. He may be the best athlete of the bunch. He's got a great arm, and he's a winner. That part of it can't be overlooked."
Quarterbacks have gone No. 1 overall in each of the past two drafts -- Matthew Stafford to Detroit in 2009 and Sam Bradford to St. Louis in 2010. Carolina is thought to be looking at defensive linemen Da'Quan Bowers and Nick Fairley with the No. 1 pick, but the Panthers do have a need at quarterback, which means guys like Newton and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert will get long looks as well. Newton has said publicly that he'd like to be the No. 1 overall pick, which means he's going to be spending this weekend and much of the next couple of months trying to convince the Panthers he's worth it.
Looks like, at least as far as Rivera's concerned, he may be off to a good start.