Top-picking Panthers looking at several prospects to fill holes

NEW ORLEANS -- Coming off a 2-14 season in which they had the NFL's worst offense (196 points, 75 fewer than any other team) and yielded 408 points, the Carolina Panthers can't count the number of holes they must fill. With the top pick in next month's draft, they are leaning toward, well, who knows?

"We're going through the whole process, and we still have about eight guys at various positions we're looking at," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said during Tuesday morning's coaches breakfast at the NFL Annual Meeting. "We're 60 percent of the way along."

Carolina's most glaring needs are at quarterback, wide receiver, tight end, both lines and in the secondary. Not that there's a particular strength on the roster, either.

That puts quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton in the mix for the Panthers, along with any of the dynamic defensive linemen and wideouts A.J. Green of Georgia and Julio Jones of Alabama.

"We have another few weeks to do more evaluations and to meet with the players and everything that goes into making this pick," Rivera said.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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