Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers Already in Elite QB Company

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 16:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers warms up on the sidelines in the last few minutes of the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 16, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
John DurstCorrespondent IOctober 17, 2011

So far, there are a total of six QBs that are averaging over 300 yards per game. The first five names I'm going to give you are regulars atop the leaderboard in said category: Tom Brady (360.5), Drew Brees (358.6), Aaron Rodgers (338.5), Tony Romo (318), and Philip Rivers (307.2).

Enter Cam Newton (307.8), who is 5th in passing yards per game this season. Add to that his six rushing TDs, which is good for second place among all players in the NFL, and his seven passing TDs, and that gives him 13 total TDs already this year. That ties him with Drew Brees for 4th in the league in total TDs.

Put all of those factors together, and we're looking at one of the most productive QBs in the NFL in this young 2011 season. Who would have thought that he'd be so good so fast?

I know it's too early to call Cam an "elite" QB, but it's not too early to start speculating as to just how good this kid is going to be. This is a rookie QB that many people were calling out as a sure-fire bust, or at least a rough work in progress. He's proving to be anything but.

The only thing that's really missing is wins. The Panthers are a woeful 1-5, but this is a team that only won two games all year in 2010. In other words, they aren't very good. They got blown out in most of last season's games. At least they're competitive right now, and that's primarily because of Cam Newton.

Panthers WR Steve Smith is the one benefiting the most from Cam's arrival. Smith ranks 2nd in receiving yards so far this season. His 609 yards in five games played is more than his total yards from the 14 games he played in last season (554). People were writing Smith off as washed up after back to back years under 1,000 yards, and now he's on pace to go over 1,800 yards this year.

Newton is having one of the best rookie seasons for any QB that I've ever seen. I, for one, am impressed with this young man's performance thus far. It looks to me like we may be seeing the next big thing take shape before our very eyes.

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