Will Panthers take it down to the wire?

Two weeks from Thursday night, Bank of America Stadium will be the center of the football universe.

By this time we usually have a pretty good idea what the team holding the first pick is going to do. Although most of the recent mock drafts have the Panthers selecting Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, the team hasn’t come out and said anything definitive.

Will the Panthers take it right down to the wire? Will Commissioner Roger Goodell truly be the first to tell us what Carolina is doing?

I still think we might hear something from the Panthers a day or two before the draft. But, really, when you think about it, there’s no real reason for them to say anything.

This isn’t like other years. In a labor lockout, the Panthers haven’t been able to talk contract terms with the agents for any of the potential prospects. Unless the lockout somehow ends before the draft, that’s not going to change.

Sure, there also is the possibility the Panthers are waiting to see if some other team gets desperate enough to jump up to No. 1. That could allow the Panthers to move down a little and add an extra pick or two in a trade. But that’s not real likely, because the rest of the league is in limbo and hesitant to do much of anything.

Everyone’s waiting on the Panthers. It’s their party and, in an age when reality television rules, the suspense on draft night could be totally real until equipment manager Jackie Miles hands in the card in New York and Goodell tells us all who the Panthers are taking.