A surprise left ankle surgery in March created a stir about whether Panthers QB Cam Newton would be ready for the fall. Two major concerns have been whether he will still be able to make the type of plays on his feet that earned him runner-up status for this year's "Madden NFL" cover and whether his injury will significantly compromise his work with his receiving corps. Neither should be a worry. Newton underwent a procedure to stabilize the lateral ankle, something that proved necessary after his ankle didn't respond to conservative treatment. In fact, Newton's ankle had been increasingly problematic for some time; surgery and rehab may ultimately enhance his mobility. Newton has shown positive signs of recovery since coming out of his walking boot, including doing some side throwing during organized team activities with Panthers first-round draft pick Kelvin Benjamin. By training camp, Newton's activity should increase substantially, and there should be no physical limitations as the season rolls around.
Newton has finished in the top 4 in each of his three NFL seasons, but his PPG has dropped from 22.9 to 20.6 to 18.7 in that same span. He lost his entire receiving corps and is recovering from ankle surgery, so he hasn’t been able to practice with his new receivers. He should still be a solid RB1 given his ability to run the ball, but there are several red flags heading into the season.