In between, Denver took linebacker Von Miller from Texas A&M, and Buffalo took defensive tackle Marcell Dareus from Alabama.
For Newton, it’s been a whirlwind of a year. Controversy has followed him throughout his college career, and he was one of the more scrutinized players in recent draft history.
Teams had concerns about his character and his ability to learn an NFL-style offense after playing in Auburn’s simplified spread attack.
Newton has rebounded nicely from his early struggles at Florida that led him to transfer to Blinn College in Texas, who he led to a junior-college national title.
He went on to Auburn and led them to the BCS national championship as controversy swirled around him about whether his father, Cecil, tried to broker a deal for him to attend Mississippi State for $180,000.
The Panthers are gambling that the Heisman Trophy winner will help turn around their bleak offense. The Panthers went 2-14 last season and had one of the NFL’s worst offenses. They averaged 12.2 points (32nd, last in the league), 258.4 total yards (32nd) and 143.1 yards passing (32nd).
The Panthers selected Jimmy Clausen in the second round last year. But the former Notre Dame star struggled when he was forced into the starting lineup after Matt Moore suffered a season-ending injury.
Newton, 6-foot-5, 248 pounds, accounted for 50 touchdowns last season as he led the Tigers on their improbable climb to the title.
Former Washington star quarterback Jake Locker was the second quarterback taken, with the eighth pick by Tennessee. Early in the draft process, most draft analysts had Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert rated as the top quarterback.
Green, who was a three-year starter for the Bulldogs, was the first receiver selected and is the first receiver taken within the top five picks since Detroit selected former Georgia Tech star Calvin Johnson in 2007.
Green, who is from Summerville, S.C., was ranked No. 9 in the nation by rivals.com coming out of high school and chose Georgia over South Carolina.
He made an immediate impact with the Bulldogs. He started 11 of 13 games as a freshman and caught 56 passes for 963 passes and scored eight touchdowns. He was named the SEC’s freshman of the year by the league’s coaches.
Green ranks third in UGA history in receptions (166), receiving yards (2,619) and second in touchdown catches (23). His numbers would be larger if not for injuries that sidelined him for three-plus games in 2009 and an NCAA suspension that cost him the first four games of the 2010 season. Green was suspended for selling his Independence Bowl jersey for $1,000 to a person whom the NCAA considered a sports agent.
Green, who did a diary for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, credited his learning how to juggle at an early age with helping his hand-to-eye coordination.
“Just reflecting on all of this, I think one of my hobbies has helped me tremendously,” Green said. “In kindergarten I joined the juggling team, and it just started from there. We used to perform at halftime of basketball games. I rode the little cycle and juggled everything. I juggled pins, balls, sticks, scarfs and rings. … pretty much everything. I think it has helped to get me where I am today with my hand-to-eye coordination.”