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Panthers expected to consider drafting defensive end first

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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Posted Jan. 07, 2011 @ 8:35 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

It was no secret that the Panthers were planning on using the first overall pick in the draft to select a potential franchise quarterback before Stanford's Andrew Luck announced Thursday that he would return to college for his senior season. Luck's surprising decision disappointed Panthers fans, and a new consensus No. 1 pick might not emerge from the remaining field of elite prospects entering the draft. Carolina's main focus is on its head-coaching search this weekend, as GM Marty Hurney and team president Danny Morrison are on the road interviewing candidates to replace John Fox. That said, there has been plenty of speculation as to who will rise to replace Luck atop the Panthers' draft board. Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers, who led the nation in sacks in 2010 (15½), is one of the favorites. He's considered the best defensive end available and picking him would fill a need for the Panthers. Their best defensive end, Charles Johnson, is due to become a free agent this offseason.

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