With just two weeks remaining until the NFL Draft, debate around the city is raging about who the Panthers should take with the top pick, and much of the discussion is centered around one player in particular: former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. We at the Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group have our own opinions as to why he would or wouldn’t fit in Carolina and decided to battle it out for your amusement.
It’s time for Cam in Carolina
by Aaron Burns
Losing isn’t fun.
Ask Cam Newton.
Oh, wait – you can’t, because he’s never been a loser.
It’s time to throw out the stop-gap quarterback mind-set in Carolina. It’s time to upgrade. It’s time for the Carolina Panthers to use the No.1 draft pick on Cam Newton.
Newton’s a winner with a real smile and talent befitting the top choice. It’s key for the Panthers to hit on this pick, and with Newton, they will. Going conservative won’t cut it. After all, that’s what got them Matt Moore as a Week 1 starter, and that didn’t work well. Newton will help the Panthers win for years to come.
As far as his character, take it from someone who’s seen Newton and spoken to him several times: This is the guy you want running your team. At Auburn, he spoke well. He passed well. He ran well. He caught a touchdown pass. He even punted once, and it had good hang time. He volunteered at an elementary school.
Newton, in his lone year at Auburn, threw 30 touchdown passes, won the Heisman Trophy and led the Tigers to a national title while pundits knocked his passing skills.
Is Newton’s past perfect? No.
Neither is Michael Vick’s, a player with similar skills but poorer passing mechanics. Vick was kicked out of the league for poor character, improved himself, came back and dominated last year. Newton doesn’t need to clean up his act.
You want a 6-10 record? Draft Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus or Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green.
You want a playoff contender?
Newton isn’t the Panthers’ best bet
by Chris Hunt
Every mock draft is predicting the Carolina Panthers will take Cam Newton with the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. Even combative draftnics Mel Kiper and Todd McShay agree Newton will be the choice.
But the Panthers should look elsewhere.
Sure, Newton’s a ridiculous athlete, but so is everyone else in the NFL. With the No. 1 pick, you don’t gamble on potential. When it comes to selecting a quarterback, the face of a franchise, I need a sure thing.
I definitely wouldn’t reach for a one-year wonder from a simplified, dive-option read offense. In the pass-happy NFL, a quarterback is more responsible for the success of his team than any other position in professional sports. With Newton, there’s just too much doubt whether he can even handle an NFL offense.
Then there’s the character issue.
Without getting into his father’s antics, Newton’s made quite a mess on his own. There’s that stolen laptop in college, and let’s not forget Newton reportedly transferred from Florida rather than face possible expulsion stemming from three incidents of academic cheating. Not fond of accountability, is he?
Less-talented quarterbacks with more mental toughness – Rich Gannon, Brad Johnson, Jake Delhomme and Eli Manning – led their teams to a Super Bowl, while high-maintenance icon-wannabes who study the mirror more than the playbook – Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Ryan Leaf and Michael Vick (before jail woke him up) – watched on TV.
To me, Newton sounds a lot like Young – a national title, a few winning NFL seasons and plenty of jersey sales, but zero Super Bowl appearances and a public meltdown when things got tough.
Is that what you want, Panther fans?