With the first pick in the 2011 NFL draft, the Carolina Panthers have chosen Auburn QB Cam Newton. "It's just like a shock sent through my body," Newton said shortly after becoming the 11th quarterback in the last 14 years to be drafted first overall.
What's his first move? "I have no clue," he said. "But it's time to get to work."
The Heisman Trophy winner has been the odds-on No. 1-pick favorite since a couple weeks after his shaky NFL Combine, when his pro day evidently soothed worries about his throwing. His top status was due to his unlimited potential and college stats like none we’ve ever seen before, but he's also considered perhaps the riskiest prospect in this year's field. His infamous ESPN powwow with Jon Gruden led many to feel he isn't up to the task of being a NFL quarterback, and others think he doesn't have the character to lead a team.
Despite his concerning past, it's hard to imagine what Auburn would've done (or will do) without him -- just ask Nick Saban. If he's willing to put in the work to adapt to a pro-style offense, this could be the best draft pick we've seen in years.
Here's a video on Newton's ... well, entire collegiate career, including highlights from both last year's national title run at Auburn and the one preceding it at Blinn College. And a shot of Cam standing around next to Urban Meyer.
Check out more on Newton at Cat Scratch Reader.
The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft started at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th, and SB Nation has everything you need to keep up with it: news, rumors, player profiles, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule, NFL mock drafts, draft projections and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.