On Thursday night, the future of new Panthers coach Ron Rivera will be inextricably linked with what Carolina does with the No.1 overall pick.
"I think it does put a face on the beginning of my career," Rivera said Tuesday of that selection. "And so whoever it is will most certainly be somebody we believe in."
It better be. This will be the biggest gamble of Rivera's three months as an NFL head coach, and how it turns out will either be an indelible blessing or curse on his career.
Rivera, of course, won't make this decision alone - far from it. But the pick will impact his career forever.
For years, people will start a conversation with, "You remember when Rivera was a rookie head coach in 2011 and with the No.1 pick the Panthers ... " Fill in the rest of that sentence, and you will fill in a huge paragraph in Rivera's career.