7. Carolina Panthers
You wouldn't know it by gazing at the Carolina Panthers' unimpressive 6-10 record from last year, but the team experienced their most exciting season since 2005 (when they made it all the way to the NFC Championship). This can be attributed to a single gentleman – the number one pick of the 2011 NFL Draft (and 2010 Heisman Trophy winner), QB Cam Newton. Newton singlehandedly carried the Panthers' offense, and in the process set all sorts of team rookie records, made the Pro Bowl and, deservedly, won the NFL's Rookie of the Year Award. So what does this fast-emerging star have planned for an encore? Will he avoid the dreaded sophomore slump and make the Panthers a contender after several largely forgettable seasons? All eyes are on Mr. Newton.