NFLN survey/Super Bowl player: Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton wasn't among the top six players the rest of the league would like to see in a Super Bowl, but he did make the list.

Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson and Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez were by far the runaway vote getters in the NFL Nation confidential survey. Anybody who is a football fan would want to see the best back in the game today and arguably top tight end of all time in the show.

But Newton is a lot closer to making the championship game than either of them. Peterson is on a Minnesota team that was 5-10-1 this season and is undergoing a coaching change.

Gonzalez is retired.

Newton is coming off a 12-4 season in which the Panthers won the NFC South. If the team can give him a few more weapons on offense and maintain what it has on defense with the league's No. 2 unit, the first pick of the 2011 draft will have a chance to reach the championship game that he did at the college level at Auburn and Blinn.

The only other Carolina player to receive a vote in the poll was left tackle Jordan Gross, and he went to the Super Bowl after the 2003 season.