With the 100th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, the Panthers did something that they hadn’t done in nearly a decade: They .
The Panthers decision to draft Will Grier out of West Virginia marked the first time in eight years that Carolina selected a quarterback during any round of the draft. Before Grier, the last time the Panthers took a quarterback came back in 2011 when they selected Cam Newton with the No. 1 overall pick.
Although there’s a new quarterback on Carolina’s roster, Newton doesn’t seem too worried that he’s going to be replaced anytime soon. In his first interview since the draft ended, Newton made it clear that he has no problem with the fact that the Panthers selected someone who plays his position.
“A lot of people would think that I feel intimidated and that’s not the case here,” Newton told Fox 46 in Charlotte.”
Not only is Newton excited about his new teammate, but he has apparently already reached out to Grier, which is definitely a good sign for the Panthers. Situations like this can quickly get ugly, and all you have to do is ask the Ravens about that. After Baltimore selected Lamar Jackson in 2018, Joe Flacco went weeks before to his new teammate, which can make for an awkward situation that Carolina isn’t going to have to worry about.
“I reached out to Will,” Newton said. “I actually saw Will play in high school with him being in Charlotte, and I’m just excited. Like I said, for him to come on a team that I know he possesses a rare talent, and I’m excited. It’s my job to put myself and my team in the best situation, and to get everybody ready. I want to make sure that I’m my best teammate and my best self for everyone.”
The Grier pick might have raised some eyebrows around the league, but it definitely made sense, especially coming off the year that Newton had. In 2018, Newton battled a shoulder injury for most of the season, which caused him to miss two games. Not only did Newton end up, but he would also later admit that there were times during the season when he couldn’t even .
Although Grier is now in the fold, he won’t be battling with Newton for the starting spot in Carolina. After the draft, Panthers general manager Marty Hurney made it clear that Newton was the team’s starter.
“Cam Newton is our franchise quarterback,” Hurney said, via the team’s official website. “This is about developing a young guy and improving depth at the most important position.”
If Hurney sounds confident in Newton, that’s probably because the Panthers are nearly unbeatable when he’s healthy. In the past three seasons where Newton has started all 16 games, Carolina has gone 11-5 (2017), 15-1 (2015) and 12-4 (2013).