More and more NFL rookies are expected to contribute early in their careers. However, for them to make an impact they need to beat out a veteran player. We are going to analyze the situation of specific rookies and determine the likely hood of them winning a position battle.
Player: Cam Newton
Team: Carolina Panthers
Competition: Jimmy Clausen, Matt Moore
Chance of winning the battle: 45 percent
Thoughts: The Panthers took a bit of a risk when they selected Cam Newton No. 1 overall. Many feel that Newton will need time and development in order to be successful. However, as I mentioned NFL rookies are receiving increasing pressure to make an early impact.
Newton will be squaring off against Jimmy Clausen and Matt Moore, which will be an interesting competition. Moore started the 2010 season but was quickly replaced due to injuries and ineffectiveness. The Panthers then made the move to Clausen, a rookie who struggled to inspire confidence. Clausen's struggles played a key role in the selection of Newton as it is obvious the new regime didn't feel he could be a star. Clausen ended last season with 1 win, 3 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions.
Matt Moore is an interesting story because he did show some glimmer of hope. At the end of the 2009 season, Moore helped the Panthers finish the season with a 4-1 record while compiling 8 touchdowns against only 2 interceptions. However, he struggled in 2010 and many feel that his upside is limited.
The decision makers in Carolina will have a tough choice as many will be pushing to see Newton on the field. His athletic ability might give the Panthers the best chance to win. However, the Panthers need to be careful not to damage the young quarterback. Some young quarterbacks are not used to failure and their careers were damaged by poor early career experiences.
Ultimately, I see Newton starting the season on the bench but seeing the field by Week 4. This Panthers team will not win many football games thus putting pressure on to insert Newton into the lineup. However, I do see a scenario where Newton begins the season as a starter. Neither Clausen or Moore are great options and if Newton looks good in training camp the coaches would not have many other options.