Newton is the second straight No. 1 overall draft pick to take the honor in voting by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. Rams QB Sam Bradford won it last year.
The first Panther to take the award, Newton received 47 votes to three for Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton.
Newton set an NFL record for touchdowns rushing in a season by a quarterback with 14 and became the first player in league history to throw for 4,000 yards and rush for 500. He helped Carolina improve from 2-14 to 6-10, throwing for 21 touchdowns.