With one pick, the worst kept secret in the NFL was no more. Everyone knew it was going to happen and the Carolina Panthers made it official: Cam Newton was their No 1 overall pick for the 2011 NFL Draft.
Newton, despite all of the criticisms thrown his way over the past few months, was the right pick for Carolina. With this selection the team admitted the truth: the Jimmy Clausen Experiment was a bust. He may have been the team’s first pick of the 2010 draft, but he shouldn’t have been. The team’s 2-14 mark said this much. And now, they were righting that wrong.
This isn’t a good time for the league. They are are in a state of semi-lockout with owners tense about the corner that U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson had backed them into. The draft was typically the league’s marquee event, but now, it’s being conducted under a cloud of strife.
It’s almost fitting that these would be the conditions that Newton came into the league under. The player who has overcome his fair share of problems over the course of his collegiate career was no stranger to off-the-field drama, and that will likely be a key factor in his ability to adjust to the professional ranks.
With a Heisman trophy and a college football championship to his name, Newton will now take his talents to Carolina. And if the ex-Auburn quarterback has shown us anything in recent years it’s that in good times and in bad, happy and sad – if nothing else, he’ll always be interesting to watch.
This marked the 11th time in the last 14 years dating to Peyton Manning that a quarterback has been selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.