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NFL draft analyst: Don’t assume Carolina drafts a QB in Round 1

The Carolina Panthers are coming off a painful season.

Franchise quarterback Cam Newton suffered a mild Linsfranc sprain in the team’s third preseason game, tried to play through it the first two games – only to make it worse – then sat the rest of the season.

Enter second-year backup QB Kyle Allen, who was an undrafted free agent out of Houston in 2018. Allen helped lead Carolina to five victories in their next six games, but the team’s 30-20 win over Tennessee on Nov. 3 would be its last victory of the season as Carolina lost its final eight games, finishing the season 5-11.

Not long after, coach Ron Rivera was replaced by former Baylor coach Matt Ruhle.

Now sitting with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, Carolina is in prime position to draft one of the top quarterbacks in the first round.

After all, Newton is in the last year of his contract, while Allen is viewed as more of a backup/spot starter.

However, as the draft draws closer, there are whispers that Carolina won’t draft a new signal caller this season, at least in the first round.

“… What (the Panthers) don’t have is clarity at quarterback for 2020 and beyond,” said The Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller in his latest scouting notebook. “In talking to people around the league, the expectation is that Rhule and the Panthers will not draft a quarterback at No. 7 overall, barring a major change in strategy. But as of now, that’s the vibe the new Panthers are sending out.”

There’s a growing sense among NFL draft analysts that three QBs will be among the first 10 picks: LSU’s Joe Burrow (the likely No. 1 overall picked), Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon’s Justin Herbert. Some analysts believe all three could go top-5.

So that would mean Carolina wouldn’t have a shot at one of the top three QBs unless the team traded up. Two other QBs are linked to the first round in Utah State’s Jordan Love and, as Miller noted in his same report, Washington’s Jacob Eason.

That would leave Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts, Georgia’s Jake Fromm and Washington State’s Anthony Gordon as the most likely candidates still available in Round 2.

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