The NFL Draft essentially boils down to a guessing game. Sure, those guesses are educated by things like scouting, interviews and the NFL Combine, but no one really knows exactly how a pick will work out. Remember when everyone thought Trent Richardson was a sure thing? Exactly.
Franchises pick the player they guess will work out best for their team, then analysts guess whether the franchise guessed right. When the Panthers picked Cam Newton with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Jim Folsom, a Senior Analyst at Bleacher Report, made some very strong guesses about how that would work out.
Just days after the draft, Folsom wrote an article entitled “Cam Newton: Why Carolina Panthers’ New QB Is The Worst Draft Pick Ever.” Geez Jim, tell us how you really feel.
To call Folsom’s article a hot take is an understatement. I had to put on sunglasses and a pair of oven mitts to safely read it. He comes out firing in the very first paragraph.
“Cam Newton is a sure-fire bust,” Folsom writes. “I am so certain of this that if he is the Panthers’ starting quarterback in 2016, I will buy a Cam Newton jersey and stand in the stadium parking lot in my underwear when the Panthers come to Tampa Bay.”
Folsom then—wait, hold on a second, I’ve got to take the battery out of my fire alarm. Reading this article out loud keeps setting it off.
Right, as I was saying, Folsom goes on to list the reasons he believes Newton will be Ryan Leaf 2.0. He cites Cam’s inexperience, immaturity, lack of accuracy and overall character as reasons he’ll go down as the worst draft pick in NFL history. “How can an NFL franchise waste a No. 1 draft pick on a guy with this many questions marks?” Folsom writes.
After 842 words of detest for the Panthers’ top pick, Folsom signs off with a take so hot that I need to warn you before I quote it. I’d recommend putting your laptop in the freezer so that as soon as you read this prediction, you can instantly close the door t0 cool things off. You ready? OK, here we go.
“In five years, when [Tim] Tebow is leading Denver into the playoffs and Cam Newton is riding someone’s bench, remember this article.”
Let me start by admitting that hindsight is 20/20. Back then, no one knew that in 2015 Tebow would be working as an SEC Network analyst while Cam Newton was putting together an MVP-caliber season. But when you have an opinion this strong and whiff this hard, you’ve got to hold up your end of the bargain. Barring serious injury, it looks like Newton will be the Panthers’ starting QB when they roll into Tampa Bay next season. The only question that remains is whether Folsom will be wearing boxers or briefs.
In all seriousness, Newton knows he wasn’t exactly a “safe” pick coming out of college. He had made mistakes and continued to have growing pains during his first couple of NFL seasons. But the Panthers maintained their confidence in Newton and gave him ample time to grow as a player and as a person. The results, of course, have been magnificent. When STACK interviewed Newton this past off-season, he reflected on how far he’s come. “I’m an example of why people deserve second chances,” Newton said.
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