(The Spread) - The expected happened on Thursday night when the Carolina Panthers went on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick: They drafted their future signal caller.

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New head coach Ron Rivera indicated on Friday morning that Cam Newton, whom the Panthers took with the No. 1 overall pick, will have the opportunity to play as a rookie next season.

“Cam will play when Cam gets himself ready to play,” Rivera said. “It’s putting a little but of a challenge out there for him. That’s what he thrives on.”

The Panthers could head into training camp with Newton and Jimmy Clausen battling for the starting job. The team could simplify the playbook for Newton and allow him to use his athletic ability to have some early success.

According to online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com listed Newton as a -400 money line favorite to be taken with the No. 1 overall pick on Thursday night. Marcell Dareus was +300, while Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert was +1000.

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