An ESPN panel of 63 'experts' has ranked Cam Newton as the 100th best offensive player in the NFL. Let that sink in for a moment...
It means that on average, the other 31 franchises have 3.2 offensive players on the list ranked ahead of Newton.
It means that Newton is the 16th-ranked QB on the list, obviously behind all four of the shiny, new media pets in Luck, RG3, Kaepernick and Wilson (Cam is also ranked behind Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford and a host of other middle-of-the-pack QBs).
How then does Newton rank as the 46th best player (on offense or defense) in the NFL's Top 100 ranking, but then he's projected as roughly the 200th best overall player in ESPN's ranking?
The answer is simple: The Carolina Panthers have not won enough football games. The media cannot get past this. It seems they are incapable of placing Newton's play in a vacuum and evaluating him on that. Instead, they are holding him accountable for the collective failure of the organization, or maybe they're simply too lazy to watch teams outside of New England, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, D.C., etc. You hate to play the 'small market' card here, but this ranking leaves you searching for answers.
What ESPN is telling us is there are 99 offensive players who made a greater impact on their football teams. Unfortunately we will have to wait with baited breath for this series to be dragged out in it's entirety--they've only published the first 10 players on the list (#s 100-91). But, we can take a look at the players just ahead of Newton for some context...
99: Miles Austin
98: Jordan Gross (I don't want to live on this planet anymore.)
97: Jay Cutler
96: Michael Roos
95: Antonio Brown
94: Matthew Stafford
93: DeSean Jackson
92: Jonathan Goodwin
91: Heath Miller
The national media (particularity ESPN) has developed such a disdainful narrative regarding Cam Newton that, at this point, it feels more like professional trolling than it does journalism.