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Mailbag: Can Cam Newton have an MVP season?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Never underestimate the power of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

Whether he's at his Cam Newton Foundation 7 v 7 High School Football Tournament as he is today in Fort Mill, S.C., or Down Under working out with an Australian Football League he gets attention.

So it's no surprise Newton is the focus of this Saturday mailbag.


@DNewtonESPN: It's not so much whether Newton is capable. He didn't win the Heisman Trophy at Auburn or win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year at Carolina for a lack of talent. The question is this: Does Newton have the talent around him to become an MVP? Aaron Rodgers didn't win the award last season without having a solid offensive line, top receivers and a running game that takes the pressure off him. Newton needs the same. He's closer than he's ever been to having that. Wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, Corey Brown and Ted Ginn Jr., along with tight end Greg Olsen, give him plenty of capable targets. Jonathan Stewart showed again at the end of last season that, when healthy, he's a top five back. So for Newton, it all comes down his offensive line. Newton has a chance to excel if Michael Oher can protect him at left tackle and the rest of the group performs the way it did at the end of last season. That remains to be seen. But if the line does its part, and Newton becomes a more consistent passer, the potential for an MVP season is there. I'd still put my money on Rodgers or Tom Brady, though.


@DNewtonESPN: Thirty-two touchdown passes might be a lot to expect since Newton hasn't thrown more than 24 in a season since entering the league in 2011. I would say 28 is more realistic, and even that might be a stretch for a team that wants to rely on the run. The 3,700 yards passing are realistic. Newton surpassed that in each of his first two seasons. But as you can see over the past two seasons when the Panthers have been more balanced between the run and the pass, the 3,200-yard mark might be more realistic.


@DNewtonESPN: I'm sure Newton will give his opinion, but his action will speak louder. By that I mean the players that Newton develops the best chemistry with in practice. It's pretty much a lock that Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, Corey Brown, Ted Ginn Jr. and Jerricho Cotchery will make the roster. That leaves a handful of players fighting for one spot. It likely will come down to Brenton Bersin, Jarrett Boykin and Stephen Hill. I wouldn't bet against Bersin because Newton already has established a trust level in the former Wofford player. Hill might be his toughest competition.


@DNewtonESPN: As mentioned above, the sixth wide receiver spot. Right tackle will be a battle between Mike Remmers and rookie Daryl Williams. Amini Silatolu could give Andrew Norwell a run for his money at left guard. The biggest battle on defense will be for the every down end spot opposite Charles Johnson. Frank Alexander, Kony Ealy, Mario Addison and Wes Horton should be fun to watch when they put the pads on.