- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - It’s no accident that’s it’s been 16 years since the Carolina Panthers took a quarterback in the first round of the draft. For much of their existence they’ve been a run-first team with the philosophy that the QB need only to be a game manager.

That thinking has changed, and could lead the Panthers to make the biggest draft gamble in franchise history Thursday night by selecting Auburn quarterback Cam Newton with the No. 1 overall pick.

General manager Marty Hurney has remained mum on what he’ll do with the top choice, but he hasn’t been shy in promoting Newton or their newfound theory of the need for a franchise quarterback. It comes a year after the Panthers slogged through a 2-14 season in which they scored a franchise-low 196 points.

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