Newton made this list easily as he has helped the Carolina Panthers sustain success over a relatively long period of time. Some years have been better than others, but one thing has remained constant. Newton has electrified whichever team he has played on and he has become a polarizing figure of sorts. He has become the de facto face of the franchise for the better, and has led them to consistent heights never before accomplished by a quarterback in the franchise’s history.
Drafted No. 1 overall in the 2011 draft, he was Hurney’s saving grace to an otherwise dismal class. Names like Terrell McClain, Sione Fua, and Brandon McClain do not exactly pop off the page. Originally a Florida Gator in 2007, he struggled to find playing time. It would not get any easier to do so. Backing up Tim Tebow was not the life for him and he decided to take his talents to Auburn.
In his first and only season as Auburn he was electric, passing for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns en route to a BCS title. The Heisman Trophy, Davey O’ Brien, Maxwell and Walter Cam Awards all went to him that year. In addition, he was named the Sporting News College Player of the Year and was a consensus All-American.
His time at Carolina has been full of success as well. Three Pro Bowls, an MVP Award (2015), an NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award (2011), an NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award (2015) and a Super Bowl appearance have all been accomplishments of his over the course of his career to this point and he is only 29 years old.
Newton has put the franchise back on the map and has become one of the most successful players in the entire National Football League. Hurney knocked this one out of the park as he drafted not only the face of the franchise but one of the league’s best offensive players of the decade. As a general manager, when you have the first overall pick you do not want to mess it up. Hurney did the exact opposite and instead provided the building block of the franchise.