ESPN’s Pat Yasinkas has reported that two Carolina Panthers staffers are already settling on Stanford Cardinal QB Andrew Luck as the No. 1 2011 NFL Draft pick, should Luck indeed turn pro. While one would be tempted to file this in the DUH folder, I’d instead recommend sliding it in the Well Now Hold On Just A Minute slat.
The Panthers have not worked out Luck. They haven’t interviewed him. Their scouts have watched him play and reviewed film and perhaps interviewed people who know him. But if their general manager has already devoted enough time to Luck to declare him the team’s franchise quarterback, I think it’s clear why they’re 2-14.
Luck is very, very likely to be the team’s pick, if he does enter. I think they’d be better off upgrading their offensive line, but this is a confoundingly weak draft for pass protectors. Read this as Carolina being a strong lean in the Luck race, rather than a commit.