NFL Draft  

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All signs point to Panthers taking Newton with No. 1 pick

John David Mercer / US Presswire
It appears Cam Newton will be the latest first-round quarterback to join an NFC South team.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers' brass met for most of Wednesday, putting the finishing touches on their draft board. The feeling remains that, with the first overall pick, they'll select Auburn quarterback Cam Newton -- a player they have thoroughly vetted over the past few months.

As I reported earlier this week, Newton created a very positive buzz at team headquarters when he visited the Panthers a few weeks ago. During that stop, he also met with team owner Jerry Richardson and, from what I was told, things went very well. Richardson was among many who were impressed at how Newton handled his lengthy interview.

I also spoke with someone close to Newton on Wednesday -- the quarterback is in New York with several other rookies for pre-draft festivities. I was told that Newton hasn't heard from any teams over the past few days except for representatives from multiple clubs checking in to confirm his contact numbers during the draft.

While all signs point to Carolina selecting Newton, there is the possibility that it could choose Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson or Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green first overall.

The Panthers don't have a second-round pick, but they have eight selections overall, two in the third round. I've been told they'd like to add depth in the secondary and along the defensive line, and acquire help at wide receiver at some point. If not in the draft, they will target those areas in free agency.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89.

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