2011 NFL Draft: Why the Carolina Panthers Should Take Cam Newton No. 1 Overall

Julian ClarkeContributor IFebruary 10, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Quarterback Cameron Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates their 22-19 victory after defeating the Oregon Ducks in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Cameron Jerrell Newton stands 6'6", and weighs in at 249 pounds, he sounds more like a nightmare-inducing linebacker than a headache-causing quarterback.

However, at the helm of Auburn this past season, Newton may have had the single most successful season in college football history. Newton led the Tigers to a perfect season, a BCS National Championship win over the juggernaut Oregon Ducks, won the Heisman Trophy, the Manning Award, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award and Davey O'Brien Award. Impressive, to say the least.

Despite the numerous prestigious honors bestowed upon Newton this past season, he has generally been projected to fall somewhere between the 10th or 15th pick in the NFL draft. 

In my mind, Cam Newton, without a doubt, should be the first overall pick in the NFL draft come April, and I'll tell you why.

The Carolina Panthers were the laughingstock of the league last season, posting a mediocre 2-14 record. The majority of their problems were on the offensive side of the ball (although the defense may have been just as bad). The team lost its star running back, DeAngelo Williams, early in the season to a foot injury, and Williams is a free agent now that the season is over.

The run game was not that big of a problem for Carolina, the team placed 12th in the league with 112 yards rushing per game.

The biggest problem was the passing game. Let me remind you that the Panthers are a team that had the lowest passing total in the league, and whose highest passer rating was claimed by a wide receiver named Armanti Edwards (79.2).

Between Jimmy Clausen and Matt Moore, the Panthers tossed for a slim 2,415 yards, only tallying eight touchdowns between the two quarterbacks. Even worse, however, was the quarterbacks' incompetence at holding onto the football surrendering a combined 21 turnovers, 19 interceptions and two fumbles.

Cam Newton can solve all the Panther's problems.

Newton would be an instant force in Carolina, more mobile than Clausen and Moore, rushing for 1,473 yards and 20 touchdowns last year. That would allow the Panthers to avoid plays with loss of yardage.

Newton is able to maneuver around oncoming rushers better than both of the two play-callers in Carolina. Clausen and Moore got sacked 46 times; Newton was sacked half that amount at Auburn last year.

Newton also has an impeccable arm. On 185 completions last year, he threw for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns compared to 1,558 yards and five TDs on 157 completions from Clausen last season.

Sure, it's harder to succeed in the NFL than it is to succeed in college. But Newton was the most exciting and electrifying player in college football last year, for him not to be picked No. 1 overall is a mistake.

Carolina, do yourself a favor, draft Cam Newton and win a few more games next year.