Panthers decision pivotal for Cardinals

Apr 28, 2011, 12:39 AM | Updated: 2:15 am

The selection of Cam Newton early in the draft Thursday could effect the Cardinals greatly, even if he ends up in a Panthers uniform.

With the combination of labor uncertainty and the Panthers holding their plans for the first overall pick so closely, this is one of the murkiest drafts to project in the history of the NFL.

All this speculation leaves the Cardinals in a precarious position with almost no idea how the top-four will shake out before they are on the clock.

Cardinals general manager Rod Graves joined Sports 620 KTAR’s Doug and Wolf show Wednesday and said he would want to know the Panther’s plans more than any other team ahead of the Cardinals in the draft.

“I think what Carolina does will dictate what happens really throughout that first round,” Graves said.

“Whether they decide to ultimately go with a quarterback or whether they go with some other position, I think it’s going to have a huge bearing on what takes place. I’d like to know if I could what they are going to do but the possibility of that is probably unlikely.”

The Panthers had the league’s worst passing offense in 2010 but Newton could step in as the dynamic answer they covet after scoring 50 total touchdowns en route to a National Championship and Heisman trophy at Auburn last year.

Newton’s mentor and Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon put the odds of his protege ending up in Carolina at 90 percent on the Doug and Wolf show Wednesday.

“Usually at this point, a team has pretty much played their hand if there was a guy that they were going to take at that position and maybe even started negotiations with the guy this late if they really felt they were going to take that guy number one. Carolina has really played their hand close to the vest,” Moon said.

“I think everybody kind of figures they are going to take him number one but they haven’t said anything one way or another.”

But if they go with a different player, the decision could affect the Cardinals who will be forced to debate if Newton is the answer should he last to number five.

On the eve of the draft, Graves is probably wishing Moon is a little bit more sure than 90 percent.

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