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SB Nation New York 2011 Mock Draft: With First Pick, Carolina Selects ...

Cam Newton, QB, Auburn.

From everything you hear it seems more and more likely that this is the pick the Carolina Panthers will make next week when the real 2011 NFL Draft takes place. This is a classic ‘boom or bust’ pick and SB Nation’s Mocking The Draft is right when it calls Newton “the most polarizing player in the 2011 NFL Draft.”

He could be great. He could be the next Jamarcus Russell. Newton has all the physical tools, but there are questions galore about the Heisman Trophy winner. Does he have the accuracy? Can he transition to the pro game? What about his character and all the off-the-field drama that has surrounded him?

Nobody knows for sure. The Panthers’ new coaching staff, led by head coach Ron Rivera, don’t seem sold on last year’s second-round pick, Jimmy Clausen, as their quarterback of the future.

In reality, the Panthers are already terrible so what do they really have to lose here if they don’t believe in Clausen? If Newton is a bust are they really any worse off than where they started? Probably not. If he turns out to be a star, they have a quarterback for the next decade.