- Associated Press - Thursday, April 28, 2011

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Carolina Panthers have selected Auburn quarterback Cam Newton with the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, gambling that the Heisman Trophy winner will overcome questions about his character and work ethic to become the first franchise quarterback in team history.

A year after going 2-14 with the NFL’s worst offense, the Panthers on Thursday night bypassed safer selections such as Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson for Newton, who dazzled in his only season playing major college football.

The 6-foot-5, 248-pound Newton accounted for 50 touchdowns and led the Tigers to the national championship last season despite an NCAA investigation that his father concocted a pay-for-play scheme during his recruitment.

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