In the SB Nation annual NFL mock draft with lead bloggers from each team making the picks, the Carolina Panthers have selected Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert with the first pick overall, giving another feather in Gabbert's popular cap as a high draft pick. Most recently, Mike Mayock and Peter King also noted Gabbert's likelihood of being taken in the top five with a possible No. 1 slot very possible.
The reality is that quarterback starved teams like the Carolina Panthers, along with their colleagues choosing early in the draft like the Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals, feel the pressure to cement that most important position on the field. Other prospects like Patrick Peterson or A.J. Green have less risk potential and can help immediately, but the pressure eventually overwhelms the risk and teams, more often than not, reach for that possible star. One look at what Sam Bradford did last year for the St. Louis Rams shows the possibility of what a franchise quarterback can mean to the team.
The debates will continue as to whether Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert deserve that top spot, but the reality is that both will be taken very early in the draft. With a new regime in Carolina not attached to last year's second rounder, Jimmy Clausen, a quarterback is the most likely of choices in this instance.