By Calvin Danger
I will admit, when Cam Newton was drafted 1st overall by the Carolina Panthers in 2011, I thought that he would be the next big bust. After getting kicked off of the University of Florida’s football team for stealing a laptop and then allegedly receiving money to play for Auburn, I saw huge red flags and thought that he would turn into the next Jamarcus Russell. Boy was I wrong.
Since coming into the NFL in 2011, Newton has done nothing but impress. Aside from an injury filled 2014, where he missed all of training camp recovering from offseason foot surgery and broke his back in the middle of the season in a car accident, Cam has never finished outside the top 5 at QB. If you take his average numbers per game from last year he would have finished in the top 5 once again. Keep in mind this was in a season where he was not himself for almost the entire year.
Cam is considered to have one of, if not the, biggest arms in the NFL. He is ranked #1 among active players at 12.6 yards/completion. He is also one of the best rushing QB’s in the league. He has never finished a season with less than 500 yards and 5 TD’s on the ground. Over his entire career he has averaged 3,600 and 20.5 TD’s passing and 642 and 8TD’s rushing per season. That’s like having a QB1 and RB2 combined into 1 player.
Newton also has one of the highest ceilings of any fantasy quarterback. Not only is he just 26 years old, but has scored over 20 fantasy points in 29% of the games he starts. The only player that has done so more frequently since Cam entered the league in 2011 is Aaron Rodgers at 32%. Pretty good company. (FYI, Andrew Luck does it at a 19% clip, since I know you’re wondering). Oh, and Cam has scored 30 points 4 times in that span, more than twice the amount of time as any other QB.
The Panthers have recently made an effort to build a more dynamic team around their franchise quarterback. They spent high draft picks in consecutive years to help bolster their receiving corp (Benjamin 1.28 and Funchess 2.09). To improve their offensive line, which showed flashes of brilliance towards the end of 2014, they spent a 3rd round pick on Tackle Daryl Williams. Add in that it finally sounds like they will let go of the reigns for the first time since his rookie year (his best year as a pro) and the 26 year old is primed for a huge season.
With his current ADP sitting at 54, Newton is one of the greatest values in any draft. His numbers are almost the exact same as Russel Wilson, who’s current ADP is at 39, a full 2 rounds earlier than Cam. Think of it this way, you can have either Cam Newton and Matt Forte or Russel Wilson and Mark Ingram. I’ll take the former 10 times out of 10.