April 29, 2011
For college fans and just about anyone else who watched his dominant reign over the amateur level (insert joke here) last year, Cam Newton probably a seemed like a no-brainer as the top pick Thursday night. In fact, from a college perspective, Newton enters the NFL as one of the most decorated No. 1s in the history of the draft. When the Carolina Panthers called his name, they made him:
• The first reigning Heisman Trophy winner to go No. 1 overall since USC's Carson Palmer in 2003.
• The first reigning Davey O'Brien Award winner (best quarterback) to go No. 1 overall since Tennessee's Peyton Manning in 1998.
• The first player from a reigning national championship team to go No. 1 overall since Washington's Steve Emtman in 1992.
• The first quarterback from a reigning national championship team to go No. 1 overall since Notre Dame's Angelo Bertelli in 1944.
And the first No. 1 pick ever to ascend to the top after a single season at the institution he's leaving.
But what a season: With a) The Heisman, b) The national championship and now c) The top spot in the draft, Newton lays claim to a triple crown that only two other players — Notre Dame quarterback Angelo Bertelli (1943-44) and Notre Dame end Leon Hart (1949-50) — have ever matched in the same calendar year. Just one more reason that, whatever happens from here, Newton's 2010-11 was the Best. Year. Ever.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.