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Panthers still undecided on No. 1 overall draft pick, GM says

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney insists he's still undecided and his phone isn't ringing as he prepares to use the top pick in next week's NFL draft.

In an interview Thursday night with The Associated Press, Hurney was quick to praise Auburn quarterback Cam Newton but stressed the Panthers haven't made a decision or received an offer from another team looking to move up to No. 1.

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"If the draft was tomorrow, we could go ahead and make decisions," Hurney said, "but we have a week left, and we're going to continue to refine those decisions."

Newton has become the popular choice for Carolina in various mock drafts. The 6-foot-5 signal-caller took college football by storm last fall in his only season as a starter, winning the Heisman Trophy and leading the Tigers to the BCS national championship.

But there are numerous questions about Newton's character, stemming from a 2008 arrest after buying a stolen computer and the NCAA investigation into allegations his father solicited money during his recruitment.

Others have questioned Newton's work ethic and his ability to adapt to a more complicated pro-style offense.

"Obviously, like the rest of the players that are at the top of the board, we've spent a lot of time with Cam. It's been a very good experience," Hurney said. "I think he's a very talented player that is extremely competitive. I think being successful in the NFL is very important to him."

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The Panthers desperately need help on offense after scoring just 16 offensive touchdowns in a miserable 2-14 season in 2010. But they also need reinforcements on the defensive line, which could make Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus a safer option with the top pick.

Another scenario, especially because Carolina doesn't have a second-round pick, would be to move down in the draft and obtain extra selections. Hurney said he has yet to receive offers.

"Next week is usually when people start calling around," he said.

Hurney, who said the Panthers have completed all individual meetings with draft prospects, was vague on whether he'd accept an offer to move down. He also laughed off a direct question on who the team will take No. 1.

"We've got a week. Who knows?" Hurney said. "At the end of the day, you just want to make the right selection."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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