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Jon Gruden on Panthers' Cam Newton: 'He looks like Charles Oakley'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- My, how things have changed since Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was ranked fifth among five young guns in 2013.

Remember? ESPN asked a panel of 12 people in the NFL to grade Newton, Seattle's Russell Wilson, Indianapolis' Andrew Luck, Washington's Robert Griffin III and San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick on five things that make a great quarterback.

Newton ranked fifth in intelligence, fifth in accuracy, fourth in durability, fifth in supporting cast, fifth in urgency.

That led to an overall ranking of fifth for the first pick of the 2011 draft among the five quarterbacks. Luck ranked first, followed by Griffin, Wilson and Kaepernick.

Fast forward to 2015. Luck and Wilson easily top this group. Wilson has won a Super Bowl and been to two. Luck is a three-time Pro Bowl selection.

Next? ESPN "Monday Night Football" analyst Jon Gruden gives the nod to Newton.

"Luck and Wilson are two phenomenal talents," the former NFL head coach said on Wednesday during a MNF conference call. "Cam Newton, if you're willing to set your offense up around him, he is physically different than any man I've seen play quarterback.

"He looks like Charles Oakley or a power forward. He is built to last. If he can stay healthy, I think he can throw the football better.

"After those three, it's a crapshoot."

ESPN scouting insider Matt Williamson agreed. He said Newton ranks "easily third on that list with a noticeable gap ahead and behind him."

Griffin, who ranked first among this group in passing accuracy in 2013, has been plagued by injuries and poor play. He enters the Redskins' season as the backup to Kirk Cousins.

Kaepernick has yet to make the Pro Bowl and his supporting cast isn't close to what it was in 2013.

Newton has been to two Pro Bowls and led Carolina to consecutive NFC South titles, albeit the Panthers were 7-8-1 last season. He also has a playoff win.

Newton was 85th in ESPN's 2015 recently-published list of the NFL's top 100 players. That put him 12th among all quarterbacks.

He ranked third, behind Luck (12) and Wilson (33).

Aaron Rodgers at No. 2 and Tom Brady at No. 3 led the quarterback group. Gruden would dispute that.

"The No. 1 guy in the NFL, I think if you put all the players on the board -- offense, defense, any player in the league -- I'm taking Andrew Luck," he said. "I don't think anybody in football would argue with that.

"I'd take Russell Wilson second clearly. His ability to make plays in any circumstance is unbelievable. He's a winner."

Newton's ability to win 19 regular-season games and a playoff game since winning only 13 games in his first two seasons has elevated him.