Cam Newton, QB, Auburn.
Playing the role general manager for Carolina is 'Tito (Eight and Oh). Here is his reason for selecting Newton.
In 2009 the Carolina Panthers were a respectable, if not underachieving 8-8 (after finishing the 2008 season 12-4). In 2010 those same Panthers were arguably the worst team in football. They had a pathetic 2-14 record, with their only wins coming in ugly games at home against NFC West powerhouses San Fran, and Arizona. Why has this one time playoff mainstay fallen from grace so fast, and so hard? If you were to ask me this question, the answer would be quite simple: After the 2009 season they lost their once great leader of all things offense Jake Delhomme, and their defensive star Julius Peppers.
Clearly the Carolina front office was worrisome of these departures as they drafted two quarterbacks and two defensive ends before the end of the sixth round last year. What's interesting is even with the departure of Julius Peppers, the Panthers defense improved from 22nd in the league in run defense in ‘09 (124.8 yds/game), to 13th in'10 (115.4 yds/g), and their total number of sacks remained exactly the same (31). They fell a bit in pass defense, going from 4th in yards allowed to 11th, but did mange to stay in the upper half of the league with 17 interceptions. Where the Panthers are clearly weak, and have most clearly fallen off in the last two years is passing offense. They finished dead last with an abysmal 143.1 yds/g in ‘10. What I gather from these numbers: In this NFL you simply can't win without the threat of airing it out.
So when taking that thought into consideration, and staring Carolina right in the face is a whopping 6-foot-6, 250-pound quarterback who has been clocked as fast as 4.42 in the 40-yard dash, who has "it", and is not afraid to take on the challenge of "icon", I don't think you can risk not taking Cam Newton. That kind of size, speed, and athleticism is rarely seen in a college player, and oh yea...he can throw too. When you take into account Carolina also added three wide receivers to go along with the other Steve Smith in last year's draft, weapons will be available. Cam Newton is the first pick, look out NFC South.
My take: Rightly or wrongly, in the end I believe this is the pick the Panthers will actually end up making. The team has a new coach (Ron Rivera) and apparently the only person left in the organization who believes last year's second-round pick, Jimmy Clausen, can be a top-flight NFL quarterback is General Manager Marty Hurney. Fact is, you can't saddle a new staff with a quarterback it doesn't want, and you need a franchise quarterback to succeed. When you have the chance to grab a guy who could fill that role, you have to do it.
ESPN's Mel Kiper recently summarized Newton about as well as you can.
"He's the one player in this draft that presents the biggest upside and he's the one player in this draft that presents the biggest risk, and that's Cam Newton,’’ Kiper said. "If you hit with Newton, you're going to have a sensational NFL quarterback down the road. But if you miss, it sets you back three, four or five years."
As they are constructed right now the Panthers are not going anywhere. So, this would be a risk worth taking for them. The added bonus would be then possibly being able to deal Clausen for a couple of picks later in the draft.
|19||N.Y. Giants||Ed Valentine|
||The Blood Of Eli
|29||Chicago||You're my boy, Blue|
New York Jets
|48||Oakland||G Fan In England
|52||N.Y. Giants||Ed Valentine|
||The Blood Of Eli|
||You're my boy, Blue|