With the first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select….Kerry Collins…again! In Robert Frost’s “The Road not Taken” he says, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both”. I don’t fault the man who makes a bad decision but I do, when he makes it twice. For the Carolina Panthers, if they were to draft Cam Newton with the first pick overall, they’ll basically be doing the same thing they did in 1995 when they used the fifth pick overall to select Kerry Collins.
Collins had a problem with alcohol, which escalated into racial slurs he said to Panthers teammates. He battled this throughout his career and received help for it, but the Panthers didn’t get much value back from him other than one appearance in the NFC Conference Championship game. But, if we’re being honest, that appearance was due more to the rules the NFL set up for the two new franchise teams, Carolina and Jacksonville. They made it where these teams could double up on picks, and this allowed the Panthers to have an extraordinary defense.
By no means am I saying that Cam Newton has a problem with alcohol or that he’s a racist. His addiction is his over indulgence to his ego. He can’t feed this appetite enough. I’ve stated that I believe that Newton can be highly successful in this league, even calling him a more mobile Ben Roethlisberger. Back at the combine, I also noted that his 3rd person references were already on an NFL level. His me first personality could still work in the NFL. Everyone knows that it works for 80% of the wide receivers in the league, like T.O., Chad Johnson, Randy Moss, etc. The problem is that it won’t work in Carolina. Here’s why.
First off, the Panthers will be feeding his ego way past its capacity by making him the #1 pick of the 2011 NFL draft class. This young man will be so full of himself after winning the national championship, Heisman Trophy, and being named (unofficially) the best NFL prospect, the Cam Netwon self PR train will be hard to stop. That still isn’t what will eventually be his demise though, because he could still be successful and be the #1 pick, just not in Carolina.
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Newton needs to get drafted by a team with a strong veteran leader in place that will check him, when he steps out of line. Who will do that in Carolina, Jon Beason? Steve Smith? Smith has been wanting out for a while now, will he even stick around? More than a veteran leader to keep him in place, he needs a veteran quarterback that he respects to show him the ropes. Who’ll be that in Carolina? Will it be the 2nd year guy that was heralded as the future last year? Jimmy Clausen is a in your face reminder to Cam about how quick a franchise will give up on you. Clausen was also rumored to not be a team guy. The little bit he knows, he isn’t going to be willing to help Newton with. Okay, they’ll turn to their other veteran quarterback. Oh yeah, that’s right, the only other quarterback under contract for the Panthers is the 6’6 strong armed quarterback, that they drafted last year to be Clausen’s insurance. So, Newton will have two second year failures to mentor him. Yesterday I published “Replacing a Legend.” In it I state the value of having a great quarterback mentoring a rookie that is drafted to take over the reins of a franchise. The 2011 Carolina Panthers would be on the complete opposite side of that spectrum.
Maybe you think I’m being a little too hard. There is however still one saving grace. That’s a really good head coach that has been in place for years and has the respect of the team and the community. He’ll be able to get through to a kid that just signed for more money than he could ever imagine and has the ego of Zeus. DOH! That’s right, the Panthers have a first year head coach that comes from the defensive side of the ball. This sounds like a recipe that will end up putting out a product as good as my daughter’s easy bake oven treats. I’m sure the Panthers’ fans will be making the same faces watching this recipe develop as I did eating the finished product of my daughter’s recipe.
If the Panthers take Newton with the first pick, this is a young team that will be led by an ego driven, spotlight starving, kid with no fear of repercussions for his actions. Look at the team around him. If Steve Smith gets his way and gets out of Carolina, then his receivers will be 3 second year players, in David Gettis, Brandon LaFell, and Armanti Edwards. It doesn’t look as if the Panthers will be bringing back Deangelo Williams, so his backfield will consist of injury prone Jonathan Stewart who was drafted in 08″ and Mike Goodson who was drafted in 09′. Tight end is a shallow position led by newly acquired Jeremy Shockey who was run out of New York and not resigned by New Orleans as they had a younger, more talented player.
At least the defense will be able to take some of the pressure off of Newton. WRONG! The Panthers have one of the youngest defenses. They also are the proud owners of one of the worst defensive lines in the NFL. They lost Julius Peppers after the 2009 season and the speculation is that they won’t resign their best defensive lineman from the 2010 season, Charles Johnson. Wait, it gets worse though. The Panthers won’t be able to upgrade the defensive line until the 3rd round. This is because that they’ll be using their 3rd pick in the last 2 years on a quarterback and they don’t have a second round pick.
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If the rumors are true and the Panthers organization really is dumb enough to draft Cam Newton or any quarterback this year with the first pick, then we’ll probably be hearing this next year…”With the 1st pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select…Andrew Luck, quarterback, Stanford.”
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