The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will likely draft Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota with the No. 1 overall pick. So how does this type of thing usually work out? We continue our countdown of the 18 quarterbacks who were drafted with the top selection over the past 40 years.
Coming out of Auburn, Newton was a lot like Winston. He was a polarizing figure. Some liked him and some didn't. There were questions about his maturity and they still linger a bit.
But, overall, Newton has quieted his doubters and done some good things early on. After leading the Panthers to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, his career appears to be on an upswing and that's saying something because Newton has been impressive right from the start.
In his first NFL game, he set a record by becoming the first quarterback to throw for 400 yards in his debut. He became the first rookie quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season. He also became the first rookie quarterback to rush for 700. His 14 rushing touchdowns as a rookie set a new NFL record for quarterbacks.
Newton's second season wasn't nearly as smooth as his first. A fierce competitor not used to losing, Newton frequently showed his emotions. Critics pointed to his body language on the sidelines.
Newton still doesn't like losing, but he's worked hard to try to be more even keel in his demeanor. It has helped that the Panthers haven't lost as much the last two seasons.
Newton has cut back on his running a bit the last two years, but still has rushed for more than 500 yards in those two seasons. He also has answered those that said he was not a pocket passer. Newton has been very efficient the last two years, throwing for 42 touchdowns and 25 interceptions.
The Panthers let veteran receiver Steve Smith go last year, primarily because they wanted this to be Newton's team. Newton has embraced that role and become more of a leader.
He still is a work in progress, but Newton's career is headed in the right direction.
Final analysis: Good pick.