Much has been written about Cam Newton’s record-breaking rookie season, but probably not enough.
Newton is arguably having the best rookie season of any quarterback ever. We’d argue he’s already a top-ten NFL quarterback.
His assimilation to the pro game has been somewhat overlooked because he plays on a team with one of the worst defenses in football. But Newton’s presence has almost singlehandedly transformed the single worst offense in the league to a top-five unit.
Newton is far more developed as a pocket passer than anyone expected. His running ability opens up lanes for his teammates DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart because of Carolina’s creative approach to the run game.
Perhaps the most overlooked quality in Newton’s arsenal: His ability to take a hit. It’s not overlooked by Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.
“As far as I’m concerned, he’ll be the last quarterback we ever draft high in my lifetime,” Richardson told SI.com’s Peter King for MMQB. “He is a very unusual young man, and I say that in a highly complimentary way. He does not complain. Ever. He’s never in the trainers room. You watch him get hit out there and you think, ‘He got to be hurting,’ and then you see he’s never with the trainers.”
Newton may want to take fewer hits as he matures. For now, he’s a huge part of Carolina’s three-pronged rushing attack.
Carolina has three players with over 670 yards rushing. Newton is the goal-line back with 14 rushing scores.
That rushing ability combined with his 3,893 passing yards and improved decision making makes Newton one of the most compelling talents we’ve seen enter the league in a long time.