It’s surprising for Cam Newton, the number one overall pick of the Carolina Panthers in this years NFL draft to have to deal with the criticism he has. His new fame can be orchestrated by three words “Intriguing. Controversial. Cheat. Winner“Aren’t these the same words used to describe former “Two And A Half Men” member, Charlie Sheen.
Former Auburn Tigers star quarterback Newton won the 2010 Heisman Trophy and led the Tigers to their first national title since 1957, has been a constant lighting rod of media attention ever since his father, Cecil orchestrated a pay-for-play scheme in the range of $100,000 to $180,000 for his son to play at SEC rival, Mississippi State.
Briefly after being declared ineligible by the NCAA due to insufficient evidence, it was later overturned in time for the BCS National Championship Game against the Oregon Ducks.
His record shows he is a proven winner against Oregon, Newton would throw for 262 yards passing, two touchdowns and one interception. Newton would also rush for 66 yards on 22 carries in the 22-19 victory. For the 2010 season, Newton would account for 51 total touchdowns, 30 passing, 20 rushing and one receiving.
Newton would also become the first SEC quarterback to ever have 2,00 yards passing and 1,000 yards in the same season. Newton would throw for 2,854 yards and rush for 1,473 yards on the year.
Newton would also become only the third quarterback to ever win a national title, win the Hesiman Trophy and be drafted #1 overall in the NFL, joining Notre Dame quarterbacks, Leon Hart and Angelo Bertelli.
Hart won the 1949 national title and Heisman Trophy, and was drafted #1 overall by the Detroit Lions in 1950.
Bertelli won the national title and Hesiman in 1943, Bertelli would be drafted by the Boston Yanks in 1944.
Bertelli would win the Heisman despite playing only six games for the Fighting Irish. He would also serve in the U.S Marine Corps during World War II.
For Newton, despite all of his accomplishments would continue to be haunted by his off-the-field issues dating back to Auburn and even during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine when he referred to himself as a “icon” causing many teams to question his character.
The most infamous example would come during an interview with former NFL head coach and current Monday night football analyst, Jon Gruden questioned Newton’s ability to make a “long call” in the huddle.
Gruden would also question Newton’s ability to run a pro-style offense as opposed the spread offense he ran at Auburn.
While there may be some legitimate concerns about his character and the fact that he played in a spread offense, Newton would be selected #1 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Newton may seem to be a big gamble for many Carolina fans, but he may also seem to be a great fit for new Carolina Panther’s offensive coordinator, Rob Chudzinksi and his vertical passing offense.
Statistics do not lie, aside from all the negative media attention that Newton seems to attract, there is no overlooking the fact that he dominated college football in 2010, let alone fellow SEC first round picks such as Patrick Peterson of LSU and Marcell Dareus of Alabama.
Carolina has some promising talent at the wide receiver spot in second-year players, David Gettis, Brandon LaFell and Armanti Edwards.
With the Panthers drafting former Hawai’I wideout, Kealoha Pilares and in the process of trading All-Pro wide-out, Steve Smith, Newton can very well have some weapons to work with in his first year in Carolina.
Despite all of this, Newton is embroiled again in controversy because of stating his desire to wear his old collegiate number of #2, which is currently worn by second-stringer, Jimmy Clausen.
Reports are currently stating that Clausen has no intention of relinquishing his number to Newton.
For Newton to succeed in Carolina, he must focus his energy and top-level talent more on proving the “nay-sayers” and critics wrong and not getting caught up in such trivial matters. But if he doesn’t and struggles early out of the gate in Carolina, Newton will have more issues to worry about then what number is not on his back.