Panthers coach Ron Rivera is going to have a lot of pressure to put #1 overall pick Cam Newton in the lineup day one as the teams starting QB. He on the other hand wants to make sure that the newest Panthers toy is not feeling too much pressure when he takes the field for the first time.
“He’s not drafted to be a franchise savior,” Rivera said. “He’s drafted to be a part of what we do and how we do it. If this football team is going to win a championship we’re going to get back to running the football the way we did and the way this team can.”
Rivera said the Panthers did extensive research on Newton, more than he’d done in the past on any other college player, because of his troubled background, but he came away satisfied with him after a meeting the weekend before the draft in Atlanta.
“The thing that stood out is he had the situation at one point that could have tore him down but he rose above it and become a champion on the junior college level and became a champion on the NCAA Division I level and won the Heisman Trophy,” Rivera said. “So in spite of all of the distractions and the turmoil, the young man rose above it and that spoke very highly of his character being able to learn and grow from his situation and become the player and person that he is right now.”