Kiper succinctly breaks down Cam Newton

March, 11, 2011
3/11/11
3:31
PM ET
The debate on whether the Carolina Panthers should take Auburn quarterback Cam Newton with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft has been swirling for months. That’s probably going to continue right up until the draft at the end of April.

[+] EnlargeCam Newton
AP Photo/Todd J. Van EmstCam Newton has tremendous upside, but he carries enormous risk as well.
There are lots of mixed views of Newton and I see both sides. But I just got a transcript of a conference call that ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. did with the national media. In just a few sentences, I think Kiper summarized the entire Newton debate as well as anyone I’ve seen or heard.

"He's the one player in this draft that presents the biggest upside and he's the one player in this draft that presents the biggest risk, and that's Cam Newton,’’ Kiper said. “If you hit with Newton, you're going to have a sensational NFL quarterback down the road. But if you miss, it sets you back three, four or five years. That's what it does to any quarterback you miss on that you take in the first round. Not in the second round, but if you miss in the first round and you take a quarterback in the top 10 it will set you back three, four or five years. That is where the big risk and upside is with Newton. Newton is a one-year wonder. Akili Smith was a one-hit wonder out of Oregon and look what happened to him with the Cincinnati Bengals. So that's the issue."

Let’s continue to debate this one in the comments section and in our upcoming NFC South chats. It makes for great conversation.

But in the end, it’s all going to come down to the Panthers deciding if Newton is worth the risk or not.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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