Marty Hurney speaks out for Cam Newton, sort of

The Carolina Panthers hold all the leverage with the No. 1 pick in the draft.

And they’re not about to give any of it up as we close in on the one thing for sure we know will happen in the NFL this spring. The draft is now less than four weeks away.

So it wasn’t surprising when Panthers general manager Marty Hurney spoke out somewhat in defense of Cam Newton, the Auburn quarterback who Carolina has done its homework on. The Panthers need a franchise quarterback in the worst way and it’s not expected Jimmy Clausen will be that man even though Hurney invested a second-round pick in him a year ago.

Newton has come under increased scrutiny this week when Pro Football Weekly draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki criticized him.

“I don't pay much attention," Hurney said on Mac Attack on CBS Radio in Charlotte.

Really? That doesn’t surprise us one bit that Hurney, a former member of the media, isn’t polling media on what to do with the top pick.

“Nawrocki has never met Cam Newton. So who's he talked to? He says he's talking to decision makers. We have the No. 1 pick. He hasn't talked to me. Nawrocki did his job, he's selling books.”

That’s one way to put it. But the fact remains that there are enough questions surrounding Newton right now that it might be difficult for the Panthers to pull the trigger on him with the No. 1 pick. The GM and the first-year coach need a hit.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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