Is Cam Newton the best No. 1 overall pick of the 2010s?

Dean Jones
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Cam Newton
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Cam Newton /
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Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton might have been released by the franchise, but he did receive a notable distinction recently.

The wound is still fresh regarding Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. The former NFL MVP was released in acrimonious circumstances this offseason which came after most other starting jobs in the NFL had been filled.

The player’s release ended what was a truly stunning time with the Carolina Panthers. Newton transformed the franchise into a leading contender and propelled them on to the national stage with a style of play that electrified fans every time he stepped on the field.

A recent article by Ali Bhanpuri, deputy editor at NFL.com, listed the top ten No. 1 overall draft picks of the 2010s. Newton’s exceptional impact saw him secure first place in the standings ahead of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and Cleveland Browns’ defensive end Myles Garrett.

Writing about his decision, Bhanpuri had this to say on Newton.

"“Newton authored one of the most dominant seasons I’ve ever seen by any football player, when he combined for 45 total TDs (35 passing, 10 rushing) against just 14 giveaways in 2015 to blow away the competition for MVP and lead the Panthers to their first Super Bowl appearance in 12 years. I know many soured on the QB after his lack of urgency during that pivotal fumble and his petulant interview postgame, but those few moments don’t define an entire season’s (and nine-year career’s) worth of highlight reels and gasp-inducing performances. While Newton certainly struggled with injuries and faulty mechanics in the 2010s, when healthy, there were years when no other player came close to matching his unique skill set. He gets the nod over Luck in part due to the MVP but also because the top free agent available (I’m amazed by this) still has plenty of time for a second act. I can’t wait to see him cash in his receipts.”"

There is little doubt that Newton is thoroughly deserving of his place at the top of this list. Things might not have worked out according to plan over the last two seasons. But the way he revolutionized the quarterback position ensures that his place in history is assured.

At the peak of his powers, Newton was simply unplayable. He was a stronger runner than Michael Vick and arguably had a better arm. He played the game with a swagger that made him a must-watch signal-caller and the former Auburn standout still has something left to give providing he is back at full health.

It is a real shame that Newton’s time with the Carolina Panthers ended the way it did. Hopefully, when his career comes to an end and the dust settles, he can return for the proper send-off a player of this magnitude deserves.

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Until then, the NFL-world waits for the player’s next move. And given the social distancing measures relating to the coronavirus pandemic, they might be waiting a while longer yet.

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