On April 17, 2011, I wrote an article titled Busted Cam: Why the Auburn QB Will Be a First Round Flop in the 2011 NFL Draft and the subject was how former Auburn Tigers' QB Cam Newton would fare in the then-upcoming NFL draft.
I was the first to criticize Newton as I didn't believe that he had the skill to run an NFL offense. I was convinced that the simplistic offense that he ran at Auburn would be all but useless when he moved onto the pro game.
A lot of draft forecasters had the quarterback going as high as the No. 1 overall pick.
The specter of Ryan Leaf and Akili Smith has long been in the minds of everyone when it comes to drafting quarterbacks, and he was definitely put under a microscope as teams such as the Carolina Panthers were in a desperate search for a quarterback to reverse their fortunes.
The Panthers selected Newton with the top overall pick in the 2011 draft with much doubt and criticism, Newton joined Jimmy Clausen as the top two quarterbacks in Charlotte.
Count me as a supporter. Newton hit the ground running in his first career start.
He lit up the Arizona Cardinals for 422 yards passing with two touchdowns and an interception, and the very next week broke his own rookie passing record against the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and even gained a measure of respect from Packers' All-World QB Aaron Rodgers.
Newton has provided the steady presence at quarterback that the Panthers have lacked since Kerry Collins guided the team to the NFC championship game back in 1996.
Cam Newton is a bonafide NFL quarterback and he will guide the Panthers back into the realm of relevance sooner rather than later, and I am officially a believer. Sorry for the criticism, dude.