The Carolina Panthers are on clock and have been the last four months as owners of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft. When the Panthers head to the podium on Thursday night, they'll be faced with identifying the best possible draft choice out of hundreds of options.
Of those hundreds of options, the Panthers have narrowed their search to just four players, ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reports. Those four start with QB Cam Newton, who is the "odds-on favorite" to be the top pick, followed by DT Marcell Dareus, CB Patrick Peterson and WR A.J. Green.
Dareus, Peterson and Green are seen as three of the safest players in the draft but none of them can affect a franchise like a quarterback can. Newton's future depends on who you ask. Some say his one-year at Auburn is not a fluke and he's the real deal while others wonder about his dedication to being the best.
Paolantonio also reports the Panthers, who own two third round picks, will try to trade back into the second round on Friday night.
The Panthers will be making their decision sometime before 8:04 p.m. (ET) on Thursday night when they officially are on the clock.
For more on the Panthers draft day plans, check out Cat Scratch Reader.