A look at the NFC South’s best and worst from the past five NFL drafts, one team at a time.
Best choice: Cam Newton. Any time you can get a franchise quarterback, it’s a huge plus. That’s what the Panthers got when they used the first overall pick in 2011. It hasn’t translated into a lot of wins yet, but you can see the talent all over Newton. General manager Marty Hurney was fired in 2012, but the team should be forever grateful that he broke from the team’s traditional conservative ways, realizing this is a quarterback-driven league and giving the Panthers their first true franchise quarterback.
Worst choice: Everette Brown. This was a tough call because when it comes to draft busts, Armanti Edwards is no slouch. But Brown was a tremendous slouch. Taken with the 11th pick of the second round in 2009, Brown was supposed to be a reasonable facsimile of Julius Peppers. He lasted only two seasons in Carolina and started exactly three games.
Verdict pending: Jonathan Stewart. It’s a little unusual for the jury to still be out five years into a player’s career. But that’s the case with Stewart. Taken with the 13th overall pick in 2008, Stewart has looked great at times (like 2009, when he rushed for 1,133 yards) and looked like a bust at other times (like last season, when he rushed for 336 yards and one touchdown while dealing with an assortment of injuries).