MX23RW : Saturday, September 22 21:24:21

Ron Rivera: 'Protecting Cam Newton is Carolina Panthers' priority'

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera hints that his side could opt to choose a defensive player with their first-round pick in next month's Draft.

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has hinted that the team will look to pick a defensive player in next month's Draft in order to give quarterback Cam Newton more protection.

The Panthers have the 28th overall pick in the Draft and general manager Dave Gettleman has refused to reveal whether he would choose a offensive or defensive player with their first-round pick.

However, Rivera believes that protecting Newton should be their main priority due to the number of offensive weapons already at their disposal.

"I think protecting him [is more important]. You have so many opportunities to get playmakers on the field," Rivera told reporters.

"Other than the quarterback, there are five other guys who can make plays for you. I think right now what we've done is bring in guys who have the ability to make plays for us. I feel very comfortable with that."

The Panthers are looking to build on a successful 2013 campaign as they went 12-4 to win the NFC South.

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Panthers QB Cam Newton celebrates a touchdown pass against the New York Giants on September 22, 2013
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