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Cam Newton No. 1 Overall Pick In 2011 NFL Draft, To Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton was selected first overall by the Carolina Panthers in Thursday Night’s NFL Draft; 2011’s first pick is yet another quarterback—the 11th in 14 years—just a year after the Panthers drafted their quarterback of the future in Jimmy Clausen. Newton’s an extraordinarily talented player with a lot of “intangible” risks based on his extra-legal and extra-regulatory adventures as a college star. The St. Louis Rams understand the sensation, having selected Sam Bradford number one overall in the 2010 NFL Draft after some serious shoulder questions.

The Panthers wasted no time selecting Cam Newton—just a few moments passed from Goodell’s boo-laden opening to the NFL Draft to Newton joining him on stage to yet more boos.

Newton is likely to get some early experience at the position in 2011, with just Jimmy Clausen sitting between him and the starting position. He’s expected to have problems learning the playbook, but the Panthers are so far in on him that they’ll really need to shape the playbook around him, to some extent.