The Carolina Panthers hold all the power in the 2011 NFL Draft with the No. 1 overall pick. With that pick, Carolina has the freedom to do whatever they want leading up to the draft, including making their intentions well-known. According to ESPN, they’ve done just that, with two high-ranking officials within the Carolina front office declaring the Panthers will take Stanford quarterback No. 1 overall if he declares for the draft.
According to the report, Carolina isn’t dangling a rumor as trade bait, but instead is dead-set on drafting Luck. Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare for the 2011 NFL Draft.
Luck is viewed as the top prospect in the country by most draft analysts and the Panthers don’t disagree with that assessment. The team officials said they wouldn’t even consider trading down in the draft if Luck is available.
This fits with everything we’ve heard as draft speculation heats up. Luck did nothing to dissuade the notion that he is the best overall prospect in the draft with his performance at the Orange Bowl on Tuesday night as he dismantled the Virginia Tech secondary en route to a 40-12 win in Miami.
The only question that remains is whether or not luck will choose to leave Stanford early and head to the NFL. Should he choose to declare, the quarterback class instantly gets better and increases the chances that a quarterback of the future will fall to the Seattle Seahawks with the 21st, or lower, pick in the draft.