As expected, the Carolina Panthers football team selected former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton as the overall number one pick in the NFL draft.
Appearing at the podium on Friday, Newton vowed to work as hard as possible to become the kind of top quarterback the Panthers expect of him.
I understand it's not something that's going to be instant, like instant grits, Newton said. It's more like collard greens. You've got to let it sit and wait. But at the same time it's going to be a fun process. I know that. I have embraced this whole process of being a person everybody looks at.”
There are, however, risks. Questions have been raised about Newton’s work ethic and the Panthers are a terrible team (they finished with a 2-14 record last season, hence, they got the top draft pick).
The NCAA investigated charges that Newton’s father Cecil Newton Sr. (a former NFL players himself ) solicited cash payments in connection with his son’s college recruitment.
Cam Newton’s maturity has also been questioned, given his stated desire to become a “celebrity.”
But there are pluses, too.
The 6-foot-5, 248-pound Heisman Trophy winner threw 30 touchdown passes and rushed for 20 more in Auburn’s 14-0 national championship season. In comparison, the Panthers scored 16 offensive touchdowns in two more games in 2010.
The Panthers new coach, Ron Rivera, told reporters: His ability to run with the football, as a ball carrier, not just as a scrambler. He can open things up for our running backs. If the defense crashes down on the line of scrimmage, he can bootleg outside and make something happen.
Newton seems bubbling with excitement with joining the NFL.
I'm ready to get this show on the road right now, Newton said. I'm saying it right now: I'm trying to be the best. I strive to be great.