Opinions seem split on the Carolina Panthers making Cam Newton the No. 1 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. But let's peer into the crystal ball; what will Hall of Fame voters think of Newton in 15 or 20 years?
It would be a bit presumptuous to peg a guy who's played one year of high-level football as a sure-fire hall of fame player. But even taking Netwon's background, intangibles and "unique qualities" out of the equation, there's plenty of data from the Pro Football Hall of Fame that's already stacked against him getting a bust in Canton.
Since the draft started in 1936, only 13 of the No. 1 picks have been voted into the Hall of Fame. The last three to get in are familiar names to most readers, and two of them are quarterbacks like Newton: Troy Aikman (No. 1 in 1989), Bruce Smith (1985) and John Elway (1983). Oh, and you've certainly heard of O.J. Simpson; he's on the list, too.
There are surely a few more on the way; Peyton Manning (1998) can book his Canton hotel room for five years after he retires, and Orlando Pace (1997) probably can do the same. JaMarcus Russell? Not so much.
If you Cam fans are wondering, the Heisman Trophy to Hall of Fame stats are even worse; only eight winners of college football's most prestigious award have made it to Canton. Oh, and look, O.J. is on that list, too.