Carolina out of Luck

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

Jimmy Clausen might've got a reprieve yesterday in his efforts to become the Carolina Panthers next no. 1 quarterback.

With the Panthers poised to select Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick in the draft, the Stanford university standout surprised everyone with an announcement yesterday that he will remain in school and play his redshirt junior season.

"I am committed to earning my degree in architectural design from Stanford University and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of the spring quarter of 2012," Luck said in a statement. The school announced that Luck wouldn't be made available for comment.

That makes Blaine Gabbert of Missouri the top quarterback in a draft that is dominated by defensive players in the Top 10 picks. Carolina now has to decide whether to go with Gabbert or look to the defensive side where tackle nick Fairly and Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers sit as the top selections with Luck remaining in school.

Meantime, John Elway's rebuilding job with the Broncos just got a bit easier when, unlike Luck, Bowers indicated yesterday he will forgo his senior year.

The Broncos have been casting covetous looks at Bowers. They see him as the anchor around which to build their aging defence.

The 6-foot-4, 280-pound Bowers led the NCAA with 15.5 sacks and has been compared to former NFL great Bruce Smith. He ranked second in U.S. college football with 26 tackles for a loss and won the Nagurski and Ted Hendricks awards as NCAA's top defender and top defensive end.

With three draft picks out of the first 48 selections, the Broncos must rebuild a defence that averaged 30.18 years in their season finale loss to the Chargers. If they now lose Bowers to Carolina it might make Alabama's Marcell Darius, a 306-pound rush end appealing. Elway wouldn't lose much either going with Fairley.

Also among the top 10 projected picks are cornerbacks Patrick Peterson of LSU and Prince Amukara of Nebraska.


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