Carolina Cam – Panthers Bank Their Future on Auburn QB Cam Newton with the #1 Pick

The worst kept secret in the NFL has finally been announced by the Panthers, as they nabbed Auburn QB Cam Newton with the first overall pick in Thursday’s NFL Draft. Newton has been the most talked about player in the draft, as some feel he will be a future Pro Bowl QB, while others feel he will be a bust.

Here’s our Scouting Report about Newton:

Strengths: Has an amazing combination of height and athleticism for the position. Very good arm strength and can make the deep out, and deep corner throw. A high release point in his upper body mechanics allows him to maintain good spin on his layered passing; throws a tight ball short, intermediate, and deep. Flashes good accuracy between the numbers on intermediate routes from the pocket. Can make accurate throws off balance and on the move. A dangerous threat to run, has great buildup speed and can glide when he breaks towards the sideline. Impressive balance in space when transitioning on the run for his 6’6 frame. Speed is deceptive and can be misjudged; one missed assignment and Newton goes the distance.

Needs Improvement: Pocket instincts are below adequate. Doesn’t feel the backside defender or show an awareness to the timing of the defensive rush. Lower body mechanics are very raw, won’t stride into most of his throws, keeps feet close together and whips his throws with his shoulder. Accuracy is off/on especially deep when throwing outside the numbers due to poor lower body mechanics. Wasn’t asked to go through coverage reads or a full progressions in a spread option offense at Auburn.

Needs to see an open receiver and has very little anticipation. Field vision is not wide angle despite size and doesn’t seem to see the entire field clearly. Will wait for his primary target to open up and rarely turns his head from left to right.

Click HERE to see the rest of our Report on Cam

Matt’s Take: The Panthers feel they are doing two things with this pick – upgrading the worst passing offense in the NFL, and also putting butts in the seats. There will be plenty of buzz about Newton, and one would think unless there’s a long holdout he will be the starter at QB for the Panthers no later than 6-8 weeks into the 2011 season. Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf? If I’d have to place money on it, I’d put it that Newton would end up more like Leaf, who also came into the league with the Chargers with a ton of upside, but just two years later was an afterthought. The Panthers sorely need this pick to work out.

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