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Newton Goes No. 1 in Wild First-Round 15

Posted: April 29, 2011, 1:16 AM ; Updated: April 29, 2011, 1:39 AM

NEW YORK (AP) -- Cam Newton provided one of the few predictable moments, so far, in a bizarre NFL offseason.

While the league's labor dispute played out in the courts, the Heisman Trophy winner was selected No. 1, as expected, in Thursday night's NFL draft, taken by the Carolina Panthers.

Moments before the Auburn quarterback's name was called by Roger Goodell, frustrated fans showered the NFL commissioner with chants of "We want football. We want football."

Goodell responded with a smile, saying, "I hear you. So do I."

Newton led Auburn to an undefeated season and its first national championship since 1957. Carolina was 2-14 last year, using four quarterbacks, two of them rookies.

"I'm ready to change this whole organization around, to go from worst to first," said Newton, the third straight quarterback taken first overall. "Just being a Panther is the most special part about this."

Then things got a little wackier when Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller became the second pick, selected by Denver. Miller, a plaintiff in the antitrust lawsuit players filed to block the lockout, strode across the stage with tears in his eyes and hugged Goodell.

"I've never had anything against Roger Goodell," Miller said. "I just want to make sure football continues to get played. When I walked across the stage, I was meeting the commissioner. That was it."

It was a strange opening for what normally is a festive occasion. In this offseason of labor strife, the league's first work stoppage since 1987 temporarily ends Friday. The 32 teams will resume business in compliance with U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson's order to lift the lockout.

But the lockout could be back in place if the NFL wins an appeal. If that happens, Newton, Miller and all the players chosen Thursday night would be thrown back into a labor limbo.

For now, they will be allowed to report to their teams, meet coaches and get playbooks. Contract negotiations are uncertain until the league announces its rules for the 2011 season - rules that might be in force for only a short time if an appeal is granted.

The draft was never in danger of being held because it was protected under the old collective bargaining agreement that expired in March. Moments before it began, Goodell requested a moment of silence for victims of the vicious storms that decimated part of the South on Wednesday. On stage, he was surrounded the Auburn and Alabama stars and their coaches.

As for the stars, none shined brighter than Newton, who has shown he can handle the heat of a spotlight. He turned in a sensational 2010 season while the NCAA investigated his recruitment. Newton's father, Cecil, has admitted soliciting money from Mississippi State during the recruiting process, but said neither the player nor Auburn knew about the pay-for-play attempt.

With the third pick, Buffalo selected Alabama nose tackle Marcell Dareus, who gave Goodell an even bigger hug. Of course, Dareus weighs 308 pounds, about 70 more than Miller - and at least 100 more than Goodell.

Cincinnati, perhaps calling the bluff of quarterback Carson Palmer, who is demanding a trade, instead took the top receiver in this crop, A.J. Green of Georgia.

Arizona, also in need of a quarterback, selected the top cornerback available, Patrick Peterson of LSU.

The labor strife caused speculation not many trades would be made Thursday. But just six picks in, Atlanta cut a massive deal with Cleveland and moved up from No. 27 to grab Alabama receiver Julio Jones - the fifth Southeastern Conference player in the first six.

The Browns received the Falcons' first-rounder, second- and fourth-rounders, plus their first pick and fourth-rounder in 2012.

San Francisco chose defensive end Aldon Smith of Missouri to bolster a weak pass rush, then the second quarterback was selected: Washington's Jake Locker to Tennessee.

That began a small run on passers. After Dallas went for offensive tackle Tyron Smith of Southern California with the ninth pick,

Jacksonville saw a chance to get its future quarterback. The Jaguars moved up six slots for Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, dealing their first-round pick and a second-rounder to Washington.

"You really don't have any idea where you will go, especially with the lockout," Gabbert said. "But the trades are happening now."

Houston bolstered its weak defense with Wisconsin end J.J. Watt at No. 11 before yet another QB was chosen: Florida State's Christian Ponder, who impressed Minnesota with his workouts leading up to the draft.

Auburn DT Nick Fairley, once projected as a top-three selection, was chosen 13th by the Lions. It was a head-scratcher because the Lions already have a star defensive tackle in Ndamukong Suh, the 2010 defensive rookie of the year.

St. Louis, undeterred by Robert Quinn's lost season - the linebacker-end was suspended from North Carolina for his role in an agents scandal - took him at No. 14.

Mike Pouncey, whose twin brother, Maurkice, was a sensational rookie center for Pittsburgh last year, was chosen by Miami to play the same position.

After moving down to No. 16, Washington took Purdue LB Ryan Kerrigan. Cleveland traded again, from No. 27 to 21st for Baylor DT Phil Taylor, with Kansas City sliding to 27th.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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15 Comments

Can I make something clear,that Cam Newton Heisman Trophy winner, SEC champion, and National Champion is the man who should go first. Guys you can't depend on yourselves to pick the everybody for the draft it is everyone's job that is on the staff of the team that's drafting. You what Jimmy Clausen could not do : explain the play to the offense. I really think that what he did was right because if he stayed in college he would of gotten caught once again. Cam Newton did not go to a different college every year because he thought the last on was bad. It was just that he wanted to play more. He was an amazing person.

What happened to Jimmy Clausen? He was a 2nd round pick last year, and was supposed to be as great as people think Cam will be. That didn't work out because Carolina isn't a great place to produce NFL quarterbacks. Next year, I think Carolina will be the worst team in the league, and they will draft another quarterback. I think Cam Newton will be a backup by the beginning of the 2012 season. He is used to being basically the whole team, which won't do in the NFL. Cam is an overrated player, and Carolina should have drafted Jake Locker or Blaine Gabbert to get a quality quarterback.

Overrated. It'll take some time for him to develop but he's no doubt overrated. every one already calling him "the younger version of mcnaab" and people are evn saying he's better than tebow. Both of these are lies. Tebow's a way better football player.

Tebow RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No he isn't

Cam doesn't come anywhere near tebow!!!!!
so wat if he can run a 15yard touch down ( i can too), tebow can run it 40yards, he wuz the first Bronco QB to run it that far FIRST EVER!!!!
Cam will NEVER compare to tebow, if he does pigs will b flying!!!!!!!;)

overrated overrated overrated

Yeah the Cardinals got Patrick Peterson he is a beast!

Yes! Now he's out of collage rules for getting paid.

I bet all of the Quarterbacks that were Seniors are really jealous a Junior got drafted number 1.

the best goes first.

All the seinors sould be in the top spots. Not a junior.

Look,all players that entered the draft deserve to get drafted, and the seniors did put in alot of work. But i dont care who put in more work, Cameron Newton is obviously the best, teams want the best, and teams can draft the best. Cudos to all those hardworking seniors, but Newton deserved it.

I honestly don't think it's fair for all the seniors who put in all there hard work and time. A SENIOR SHOULD BE #1!

I Really wanted Pondor to be first, Newton should be further down the picks

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