No surprise: Panthers go high risk/reward by taking Cam Newton first overall

Amid boos and chants of "We want football," Cam Newton goes off the board first overall.  There's really no surprise here, and obviously this pick has been discussed at great length over the past 5 months.  I don't think I really have much to add other than to give a heartfelt thank you to the Panthers for not unnecessarily taking the full 1o minutes to make the pick.

This is good for the Eagles' prospects of trading Kevin Kolb, as the Panthers wouldn't be likely to give up their 1 next year for him had they gone in another direction here.


National Football Post Scouting Report:

Size/Athleticism
At 6-6, 250 pounds, Newton possesses great size for the position. He stands tall in the pocket, keeps the ball held high and doesn't have any type of trouble seeing over the line of scrimmage and viewing the entire field. Plus, he's a strong kid with natural flexibility in his lower half. Displays the ability to consistently keep plays alive with his legs, showcases impressive lateral quickness and balance for a guy his size and accelerates extremely well out of his breaks. He possesses the type of strider speed to pick up yards in chunks once he gets into the second level and has the type of demeanor to finish runs. Does a nice job in short-yardage situations, being patient, dropping his pad level level and simply bulling for tough yards inside while consistently being able to shrug off defenders in the pocket, keep plays alive and create once he breaks contain. He's a major threat any time he's able to get into the open field and can really hurt you with his legs.

Arm strength
Simply put: the guy has the ability to make all the throws with ease. I can't wait to see Newton's hand size because the way the guy is able to grip and rip the football is as good as it gets. He generates good torque from his lower half when he's able to step into his throw, transferring his weight well from his back foot and really produces a lot of explosion through his upper body when he lets go of the pass. He spins a clean football, as passes really seem to jump out of his hands, especially when asked to make plays in the intermediate pass game and down the seam. He showcases the velocity to consistently fit throws into tight areas, but never seems to be pressing of trying to overthrow the ball.
Also, looks very strong and natural on the move. Possesses the type of balance to again generate a lot of torque from his hips and core when asked to roll out, unleashing for the most part a tightly spun throw outside the numbers.

Footwork/mechanics
The one thing that really sticks out to me is how quickly this guy is able to reset his feet and get the ball out of his hands. He showcases good balance in the pocket, keeps the ball cocked and ready to throw, and in an instant he can just cleanly rip off a strong throw. However, he does have a tendency to not really stride into throws with his front foot at times in the face of pressure. Seems content to short step throws and get rid of the football before the pressure is able to reach him, causing his accuracy and ball location at times to suffer. But there are quite a few instances where he was able to complete the throw with ease at the second level and fit the football into a tight window even when not ideally transferring his weight.
He will also get sloppy when asked to work off the play-action game and boot outside the pocket, getting lazy with his core and overall footing and simply just using his arm to complete throws and failing to maintain his balance through the play. A lot of his inaccuracies in the short passing game are a direct result of this. He also will get lethargic with his footwork at times when asked to throw one of his many bubble screens throughout the course of game, allowing himself to get upright and doesn't consistently drive off his back foot, routinely just throwing with his upper body and loosely swinging his back foot toward the target. Does take the majority of his snaps from the gun and will need to learn to how to work more predominantly from under center. However, in his limited opportunities working off play-action from under center, he showcases good balance and poise selling his fake and looks very coordinated throughout the process. But at times seems rushed trying to get his eyes around and will start to turn his body prematurely, instead of carrying out the fake and really snapping his head around before setting to throw. However, he is an athletic enough kid to certainly handle all the intricacies of taking snaps from center given more time to develop.

Ball location
When Newton steps into his target and doesn't get lazy with his footwork his ball placement is just fine. And in all honesty, even when he takes that short step in the face of pressure he can still make some big-time throws down the field. He spins a clean, tight football, is accurate in the pocket and can fit the ball through traffic into some very difficult windows that a lot of NFL quarterbacks wouldn't dream of. His lack of ideal ball placement seems to show up more in the underneath pass game, where he can get lazy with his mechanics and footwork and still complete throws because of his strong arm. This is where at times he will throw slightly behind receivers in the bubble screen game or when asked to boot, which really cuts down on his receivers' run after the catch ability. Also, he has a tendency to overthrow some bucket throws down the field from time to time, not hanging the football up there long enough. However, when focused he seems to take much more pride in being fundamentally sound. So really it's more of a case of him being inconsistent throughout stretches of the game and simply maturing in that area.

Impression: A boom or burst quarterback who is dripping with upside and has the skill set to be as good as he wants to be. Has a list of character concerns already and figuring out if he has matured from his off the field issues is key. He's a guy who his teammates seem to rally around, but you need to have a gut feeling about this guy in order to feel confident taking him in round one.

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