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Luck Stays in School: What’s Next for the Panthers

With Andrew Luck declaring for the draft, it looks like the Panthers will be having to pick someone else. The question is, who? Lucky for the Panthers, I’m here to tell them.

From the likes of it, it looks like the Panthers are ready to move on with Jimmy Clausen as their QB, and I’m really not sure why. Check these stats: 13 GP, 1558 Yards, 3 TDs, 9 INTs, and a 58.4 rating. That’s absolutely pitiful. However, he had Steve Smith (way past his prime), Brandon LaFell (who could develop into a decent receiver), and Brandon Gettis to throw to. He also had an abysmal offensive line and a virtually non-existant run game for most of the season. That’s where I cut him a little slack, because I can’t name a rookie QB that could have success with a surrounding cast like that. Even Sam Bradford had Steven Jackson to tote the rock.

If I were the GM of the Panthers, I would be torn between A.J. Green, the WR from Georgia, and Ryan Mallet, the QB from Arkansas. Both are going to be great players at the next level, but the question is who to start with.

Ryan Mallet has all the tools to be a great QB, but the main knocks on him are the slight hitch in his throw, and his poor or lazy, whichever one you want to call it, mechanics. The thing is, if you draft Mallet, he’s generally going to be in the same boat as Clausen, with no one to throw to, and without significant changes to the o-line, probably not a good running game, even though the injury prone DeAngelo Williams (if he resigns) is back in the backfield. If not, Mike Goodson showed potential, and Jonathan Stewart is a good complement.

There are several wide receivers that the Panthers could sign such as Vincent Jackson (most likely won’t resign with the Chargers), Santonio Holmes, Sidney Rice, Steve Smith (NYG), Braylon Edwards and Malcolm Floyd. The only thing is I can’t see any of them signing with the Panthers because… well, it’s the Panthers. They mostly are going to go elsewhere.

The offensive line isn’t quite as fruitful, but still are some options out there for them to go after.

Through all of that, I must say that I am a firm believer in setting up an environment for a young QB to succeed, and it’s not there yet. It’s time to look for a QB in 2012, assuming we’re not dead by then, and start watching for SDSU’s Ryan Lindley, Terrelle Pryor, Nick Foles, Brandon Weeden, and Kirk Cousins.

I would flirt with the idea of going with Mallet, or maybe even Gabbert, but I think the logical choice is A.J. Green, supposedly the best talent since Calvin Johnson, who racked up 848 yards and 9 TDs in 9 games this year for Georgia. Maybe A.J. Green sparks development in Jimmy Clausen (doubtful).

So the final verdict is to pick A.J. Green. Your welcome Panthers.


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