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Carolina Panthers: In Cam We Trust

Posted on April 29, 2011 by Dean Hybl

The Carolina Panthers selected Cam Newton with the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

A bizarre and rapid rise from obscurity to super stardom has taken an interesting turn with the selection of Cam Newton as the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.

The selection means that the Panthers, who were 2-14 a year ago, are putting their future in the hands of a quarterback who has shown tremendous potential, but has just one season of experience as a starter at a big-time college.

Interestingly, this marks the first time since the initial draft for the franchise in 1995 that they have used a first round pick on a quarterback.

They certainly are hoping that this choice has better long term results than when they chose Kerry Collins with the fifth overall pick in the 1995 draft.

While Collins led the Panthers to the NFC Championship Game in just his second season in the league, by 1998 he was gone following a series of incidents that illustrated that Collins wasn’t mature enough to be the face of a football team when he joined the Panthers.

Panther fans are hopeful that history won’t repeat itself with Newton, a young man for which there are similar concerns about whether he has the discipline and maturity to be the face of an NFL franchise.

The Panthers hope things will work out better for the team with Newton than they did with Kerry Collins.

Will Cam Newton Become a Superstar Quarterback for the Panthers?

  • No (77%, 48 Votes)
  • Yes (23%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 62

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Those concerns certainly have some merit. During his time as the backup to Tim Tebow at the University of Florida he was accused of computer theft and reportedly violated academic rules.

Then of course his year at Auburn was forever tainted by a reported “pay for play” scheme that included his father. Though it was ruled that the younger Newton was not involved, many still find it difficult to believe that he was completely unaware.

And his lack of discipline and questionable actions haven’t just occurred off the field.

During the final seconds of the BCS Championship Game when his coaches told Newton to take a knee and set up a game-winning field goal, he called a different play and tried to score a touchdown on his own.

Had he fumbled, it could have cost his team a chance at victory.

A franchise that has had an awful lot of ups and downs in less than two decades in the league, the Carolina Panthers are desperate for a superstar player who fans in the Carolinas can feel proud to have as their own.

The closest they have come to that was defensive end Julius Peppers and quarterback Jake Delhomme. However, Peppers eventually soured on the franchise and Delhomme went from star to goat in a very short period of time.

The other recent superstar of the team, Steve Smith, has had a number of incidents during his tenure with the team and it is expected that he has played his last game for the Panthers.

If the great ability and success that Cam Newton displayed last year at Auburn can translate into the NFL, then he could end up being that special player for the Panthers. However, if he is unable to adapt, the Panthers could be left in a greater hole than they had previously.

It is certainly a gamble, but given where the Panthers are today, it seems a logical one for them to take. As several NFL analysts have said, it would be better for them to draft Newton and he fail than for them to pass and watch him blossom into a superstar for someone else.


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