As the NFL Draft draws closer, the consensus is building among our NFL insiders and analysts that QB Cam Newton will be the first overall pick by the Panthers.
Four out of our last five mock drafts have Newton headed to Carolina. NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora believes it makes sense for the Panthers if next season is played under the 2010 league rules. A league executive told Albert Breer he would be “shocked” if Newton wasn’t the first pick.
But the polarizing Newton, like every other quarterback in a draft class where little consensus exists, isn’t without red flags. Analyst Mike Mayock, who lists Blaine Gabbert as his top-rated QB, has said throughout the draft process he’s sold on Newton the player. On Newton the person, not exactly.
“What worries me, and I think worries everybody, is Cam Newton the person,” Lombardi said. “Is he going to work hard? Is he going to be committed? Is the money going to spoil him? Will he be dedicated to be the best player he can? Will he take coaching as coaching and not criticism and not get down? What kind of leader will he be for the organization? Those are the areas that everybody’s most concerned with.”
We’re now two weeks away from finding out just how comfortable the Panthers are with Newton, on and off the field.