Posted by Eye on Football Staff
INDIANAPOLIS -- Cam Newton, our 11th-ranked prospect in the NFL Draft, is a fascinating talent (though we have yet to see his skills as an entertainer), and the Carolina Panthers would be crazy to not at least consider the player one scout called "the black Ben Roethlisberger" with the top overall pick.
And it appears they'll do just that -- new Panthers coach Ron Rivera told the assembled media at the NFL combine that Carolina is considering about 10 players with the top overall pick. Newton is apparently one of those players, and the Panthers' front office plans on bringing him to Charlotte for a private workout.
"He's a tall, powerful young man," Rivera said. "He's got great athletic ability. He might be the better athlete of all of [the QB prospects]. But again, the one thing he does have is he's got a great arm. And he's a winner. You go back to his junior college and his college days, you can't pass that up, either.
"We've got to explore. There's eight, 9, 10 guys that we're looking at. We're going to explore all avenues with everybody."
So, Chad Reuter was right -- Newton is absolutely in play as the top overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Of course, so are guys like Da'Quan Bowers, Nick Fairley, Patrick Peterson, A.J. Green, Von Miller and Robert Quinn (my best guess at the "first seven" guys that Marty Hurney and his staff will be picking from).
The notion that the Panthers are a defensive-minded team coached by a defensive-minded guy in Rivera makes Newton seem kind of illogical as a top pick. But given the state of the CBA -- wide open for now, especially with respect to rookie contracts -- and the Panthers desire to land someone with a large, marketable profile means that Newton can't be counted out at No. 1 overall quite yet.
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