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The One At 1: 2011 -- Cam Newton

Auburn Quarterback Cam Newton poses for photographs with NFL commission Roger Goodell after he was selected as the first pick overall by the Carolina Panthers in the first round of the NFL football draft at Radio City Music Hall Thursday, April 28, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)
Cam Newton, freshly drafted by the Panthers, poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on draft night.

The Cardinals hold the No. 1 overall pick for April’s NFL draft for the first time since 1958. As the day for the Cards to make their selection draws closer, azcardinals.com will take a look at the last 30 No. 1 overall selections and each player’s impact on the team and league.

NAME/YEAR: QB Cam Newton, 2011

TEAM: Carolina Panthers

THE SITUATION: The Panthers needed a QB and really, Newton made a lot of sense. Some were leery, because of what happened with JaMarcus Russell a few years before. Like Russell, Newton was only a one-year starter. The Panthers still made the call, amid an odd draft background where the NFL was in the middle of locking out its players, eventually wiping out all offseason work and creating a rush to fill rosters beyond draft picks at the end of July.

THE CAREER: Newton has been the anti-Russell. He has played well. He took the Panthers to a Super Bowl. He hasn’t been as consistently accurate as some had hoped he’d become, but his size and athleticism turned him in a dual threat, a tank of a runner who can scare defenses a couple of ways. His 2018 season wasn’t great as he tried to play through a bad shoulder that needed surgery this offseason.

THE OTHER OPTIONS IN TOP FIVE: Newton has been good, but the 2011 draft was top-heavy and crazy good. I mean, after Newton came Von Miller (Broncos), Marcell Dareus (Bills), A.J. Green (Bengals) and Patrick Peterson (Cardinals). All have had great careers.

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