It wont take much to have Cam Newton become the greatest first round pick in team history. His impact on the field is undeniable, and it's astounding how close he is to team passing records (already fourth). In the pre-draft process the quarterback position has been completely ignored, and rightfully so -- but let's imagine a world where Newton wasn't selected, the Panthers are picking 14th, and don't have a franchise quarterback.
This is about you, the fans. What would you do to correct the team's woes? Do you believe Jimmy Clausen should get another chance, think the team should trade for an Alex Smith-like talent? What about the draft -- who do you think who's attainable?
I've thought about this very question over the past few days, and here's my answer: I think Geno Smith has the potential to be an excellent quarterback, but that confidence ends when it comes time to thinking about trading up. Keeping the Panthers at #14, I'd look to add the same kind of talent they're already looking at.
Where it diverges is in the mid-rounds. It's here I'd look for a developmental QB, and swing for the fences -- in this case on Zac Dysert of Miami (OH). If there's a quarterback poised to have a "how the heck did he last this long?" entrance into the NFL, it's Dysert. Using a forth round pick would ensure the team's top needs could still be resolved, while not over-reaching for a quarterback. If Dysert works out it would be ideal, but it also leaves the team flexibility to draft another quarterback moving forward if needed.
A world without Cam Newton? Blasphemy! But imagine it, and tell me what you'd do at QB.