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Cam Newton took the league by storm in his rookie season in 2011 and established himself as an electrifying playmaker who could make plays with his big arm or with his athleticism.
Newton appears to have a bright future in the league, and his play answered questions that anyone may have had about his validity as a No. 1 overall selection in the draft. That doesn't preclude him from struggling in his second NFL season.
While many expect Newton to continue to evolve and get better as a quarterback, the case of Sam Bradford is important to keep in mind.
Bradford, much like Newton, was the No. 1 pick in his draft class and took over the starting job at quarterback from day one. Both quarterbacks lived up to the hype and put up good numbers on their way to claiming the award for top rookie.
Here's how their passing stats from their rookie seasons compare:
Bradford: 354-of-590, 60 percent, 3,512 yards, 18 TD, 15 INT
Newton: 310-of-517, 60 percent, 4,051 yards, 21 TD, 17 INT
Newton's numbers are slightly better but still comparable. Bradford struggled to match those numbers and couldn't stay healthy in his second year as a starter. His completion percentage dropped to 53.5 percent, and he only threw six touchdowns in 10 starts while throwing just as many interceptions.
With Bradford's contemporary case of a sophomore slump, Newton could follow suit.
The counterpoint to the Newton-Bradford comparison is that Newton was also a threat on the ground and rushed for a record 14 touchdowns in addition to his solid passing numbers. While that's a valid point, it doesn't guarantee that he'll avoid the sophomore slump.
In 1997, Kordell Stewart enjoyed success in his first year as the starting quarterback and his numbers strike a stirring resemblance to Newton's first year of starting.
Stewart: 21 TD, 17 INT, 88 carries, 476 yards, 11 rushing touchdowns
Newton: 21 TD, 17 INT, 126 carries, 706 yards, 14 rushing touchdowns
Stewart followed up his sensational debut as starter with an abysmal 11-touchdown, 18-interception season and only found the end zone on the ground twice all season. As teams have a full season of tape to break down and gameplan around his running ability, it will be difficult for Newton to duplicate his success in 2012.