Cam Newton to the Carolina Panthers with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft became clear well before teams, prospects and fans assembled at Radio City Music Hall Thursday night. He accomplished about as much as possible in one year as a starting D-I quarterback, bringing home the Heisman Trophy and national title to Auburn.
Newton’s 6-5, 248 frame plowed through and past SEC defenses and hit 4.56 in the 40-yard dash at the combine, after topping 20 touchdowns via ground and air in his junior season.
Widely viewed as the quarterback prospect with the most raw talent, many questions still linger about off-field controversies revolving around Newton’s transfer from Florida, investigations into his eligibility and — most significantly — his lack of experience in anything resembling close to a pro-style offense.
New Era Scouting founder Matt Miller seeks similar answers.
It is undeniable that Newton is an electric athlete and leader at the position. Much like Michael Vick, Vince Young and Tim Tebow before him, there are questions not about his athleticism, but his ability to succeed long-term in the NFL as a pure passer. Newton's production cannot be argued, he was simply fantastic during the 2010 season, but can he fulfill his potential?
Newton possesses an arm that can make every throw, but relied on that arm to tuck the ball and run far more often than he will be allowed in the NFL. After drafting Jimmy Clausen last April, the Carolina Panthers have already turned the page at quarterback and will rebuild around the 2011 first overall pick. Ron Rivera and his coaching staff have their work cut out for them with with this enigmatic gem.