Auburn quarterback Cam Newton has been projected as the likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft for many weeks - essentially, since late February or early March. Over the past week or so, however, some doubt has crept into the Newton-to-Carolina thought process, even though it's remained the pick in mock drafts everywhere.
Now, roughly nine hours before the Panthers are on the clock, rumors are starting to surface (via Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post) that Carolina has already "unofficially outlined contract parameters" with Newton and his agents. Obviously, a deal can't be agreed to until the league's labor situation sorts itself out, but it could serve as an indication that Newton is, as expected, going to be the top pick.
The news is highly relevant to the Buffalo Bills - not just because the Panthers are one of just two teams picking ahead of them tonight, but because it's been speculated for months (including very recently) that Newton is the top guy on Buffalo's board. This is nothing earth-shattering, but it could be a sign that the ball is already rolling on the first round.