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The Carolina Panthers used their first-round pick in 2011—the first overall pick in the draft—on quarterback Cam Newton, who went on to amaze the NFL world.
Newton threw for 4,051 yards, connected on 21 touchdown passes and ran for 14 more. He started his career by becoming the first NFL rookie passer to throw for 400 yards or more in his first two games. He went on to run for more yards than any first-year quarterback and throw for more yards, too.
To the liking of every Panthers fan and making the team’s brass extremely happy, Newton etched his name in the NFL record book multiple times during his rookie season and is still growing as an NFL quarterback.
The Panthers showed that it wasn’t impossible to follow up their great 2011 pick by landing linebacker Luke Kuechly the very next year.
Kuechly played in every game during his rookie season and compiled 165 tackles, a sack and two interceptions. His play was so fantastic that Jon Beason has agreed to move to outside linebacker so the youngster can continue to roam the middle of Carolina’s linebacker corps.
Both Newton and Kuechly won Rookie of the Year honors.
New general manager Dave Gettleman will be looked at to repeat the success of Carolina’s last two drafts in his first year at the helm.