Tag:NFL Draft
Posted on: April 5, 2011 6:38 pm

Looking more and more like CAR has eyes for Cam

Newton Posted by Mike Freeman

It continues to look increasingly like the Carolina Panthers are going to select Cam Newton with the first overall pick in April's draft. But there is a caveat.

Owner Jerry Richardson still isn't completely sold on Newton, a source with knowledge of the Panthers' draft plans told CBSSports.com. Still, Richardson will likely defer to his personnel staff, and many of them have met with Newton, and like him.

The lockout is damaging the entire league but when it comes to rookies it's Newton who could be hurt more than others. Some teams are concerned if the labor impasse continues into the summer or longer, quarterbacks, like Newton, who will need extensive coaching might suffer more than other rookies.

Another player the Panthers continue to be enamored with is former Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green. I find this impossible to believe but people I trust insist the Panthers could trade down and take Green.

This post was cross-posted from Mike Freeman's FreeStyle blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: April 5, 2011 5:41 pm

Is Fairley a younger version of Haynesworth?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Remember when we talked about how Auburn DT Nick Fairley had a pretty decent shot of going to Carolina with the No. 1 pick in this month’s draft? Hell, a Panthers beat writer and I spent some time during Super Bowl week discussing the pros and cons of the Panthers making such a move with Fairley.

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Now, you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who believes Fairley is a No. 1 pick. And, if you read this New York Post report, you can imagine why Fairley could drop even further than, say, the top-five. Because when your name is compared to that of Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth, as some of the Post’s sources have done, it’s not always such a good thing.

“You’ve got to tread lightly with him because, as good as he looks on film, he could be a one-year wonder,” an AFC general manager told The Post this week. “It’s not like [Ndamukong] Suh, who dominated for a couple of years and you had no doubts whatsoever about.”

Instead, Fairley has impressed for only one season in a Tigers uniform (and he WAS extremely impressive, recording 12 sacks during Auburn’s national championship campaign), and he was accused of dirty play on more than one occasion. His off-the-field character, much like Haynesworth, also has been questioned.

And remember, he made only 28 tackles and one sack as a sophomore after spending a season in JUCO. So, aside from his monster 2010, there’s not much history of consistent top-notch play there.

“Everybody is entitled to their opinion,” Fairley said at the NFL combine. "Some people think I play the game the way it should be played.”

Hopefully for Fairley, some of those people include NFL team executives.

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Posted on: April 5, 2011 10:18 am
Edited on: April 5, 2011 10:33 am

Colts eyeing Manning successor or just a backup?

Posted by Will Brinson

Curtis Painter isn't the most popular fella in Indianapolis. Sure, if he's in a game it's usually because the Colts are blowing out an opposing team, but occasionally, it's because they're giving up on the dream of a perfect season. Or, worst case, Peyton Manning's hurt.

And it appears that in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Colts will be seeking to find some backup competition for Painter. Or, possibly, a successor for Manning?

Andy Dalton could be that guy, as Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star notes, and that would explain why Chris Polian and Jim Caldwell put him through a private workout on Monday.

Or maybe not -- the Colts might simply want to use a early-to-mid-round pick on a quarterback that can be more effective than Painter. After all, Manning isn't exactly young (35), even if he doesn't ever miss football games.

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It is interesting, though, that the Colts would consider using an early pick on a backup quarterback in a season where teams are pretty desperate for signal callers; if they're simply looking to find a backup quarterback, there are cheaper options that might work more logically from the perspective of this draft class and team needs.

So it's possible that Dalton, a four-year starter at TCU who went 42-7 in college, is someone they've targeted as the poor guy who'll start for Indy right after Manning quarterback of the franchise's future.

And because many teams will be taking quarterbacks early -- Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett and Christian Ponder all figure to get drafted before Dalton -- there's a reasonable shot that Indianapolis can get him on the cheap.

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Posted on: April 2, 2011 3:37 pm

Bill GM Nix: Gabbert 'similar athlete' to Newton

Posted by Will Brinson

The Buffalo Bills, because of Chan Gailey's innovative offensive mind, are widely considered a potential landing spot for former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.

But Blaine Gabbert could land there as well -- depending on what the Panthers and Broncos do, of course; worth noting is that our own Clark Judge has him there ahead of Newton. And, if you need proof, how about the strong praise the former Mizzou signal caller drew from Bills' GM Buddy Nix for his athleticism recently?

"People don't realize, they talk about what a good athlete Cam is, which he is, but [Gabbert] is a very similar athlete." Nix said to WEDG Radio, per Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News.

Well, now, that's nice and everything, but -- and no offense to Gabbert -- that might be a stretch, Buddy.

"He's 6-4, and he's 234 pounds and he ran 4.61 (40-yard dash)," Nix told WEDG Radio. "He can jump. He's 10 feet, 3 inches long jump. Athletically he's really a big, fast athlete. He's a smart guy. He's a little like Cam in that he hasn't played a lot. — He played three games his senior year in high school. He didn't play any as a freshman except in a mop-up role and then started two years."

Look, Gabbert's a good athlete. No question about it. But no amount of height or weight or speed is going to make him a "similar" athlete to Newton. That's because Newton is the freaky-deakiest of the freaks when it comes to raw athletes that we've seen in sports, in a pretty long time. If he was more polished as a quarterback and/or there weren't some concerns about his off-field behavior/personal life, there wouldn't be a discussion about who was getting drafted at No. 1 overall.

It would be a slam dunk for Newton and no one would think twice. But there are questions and that's how Gabbert's getting involved in the discussion. So, yeah, it's great for him, but let's not carried away when we start discussing the phrase "athleticism."

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Posted on: April 1, 2011 5:50 pm

Warren Moon elaborates on Newton comments

Posted by Andy Benoit

The comments Warren Moon mW. Moon (US Presswire)ade about Cam Newton to CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman have caused quite a stir. Not surprisingly, Moon has been pressed for follow-ups.

On Friday, the Hall of Fame quarterback appeared on KTAR in Phoenix. He was asked to elaborate on his thoughts of criticism towards Newton.

“I just think it has racial overtones,” Moon said, via Pro Football Talk. “I’m not going to say it’s totally racial. I just think they just keep piling on. I don’t understand why they keep piling on. Because this is a guy that’s a very special talent that has done some very special things and they just keep trying to cut up every part of his game. There’s no way a guy could be as successful as he’s been whatever level that he’s been on and have all these different flaws that they’re talking about right now.

He went on.

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“It really baffles my mind to come out with all these different things that they’re talking about. How come they’re not talking to his offensive coordinator or they’re not talking to his head coach or they’re not talking to players on his football team? They’re talking to general managers who probably had 15 minutes with him inside of a room at the combine but they’re not talking to the people that were with him every day of his career at the University of Auburn to get their sense of what type of person that he is. And those are the people that I’ve talked to about Cam Newton. I’m not only going off of what I know of Cam as far as the time that I’ve been around him, I’m going off of what I’ve talked and asked questions about myself.”

Moon acknowledged that Newton made a poor choice in saying he wanted to be an icon. (Newton has since made it clear that his focus is first and foremost on football.) He also said he believes Newton is the best quarterback in the 2011 Draft.

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Posted on: April 1, 2011 12:06 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2011 12:10 pm

Da'Quan Bowers finally works out

Posted by Andy Benoit

Da’Quan D. Bowers (US Presswire)Bowers is trying to prove to NFL teams that he’s healthy. The Clemson defensive end was at one point projected as the top player in the 2011 Draft. However, his inability to workout at the combine following arthroscopic knee surgery to fix a meniscus, and his decision to not partake in Clemson’s pro day, raised red flags.

On Friday, Bowers finally worked out for NFL teams. A majority of the league was represented, and Bowers is later scheduled to visit with eight of the teams picking in the top 10.

As for how he did…the initial reports say anywhere from “so-so” to “solid”. Tony Pauline of TFYDraft.com provided the details.

Bowers ran a 4.85 forty (as well as a 4.90), which isn’t great but doesn’t figure to be a major factor considering he projects as a 4-3 defensive end. In fact, you can probably etch the “4-3 defensive end” in stone given the way Bowers struggled in outside linebacker drills. (At one point, Dolphins assistant Bryan Cox said to Bowers “I’m stiff and I can do it. If you can't, you must be real stiff!")

Bowers’ broad jump was 9’2”, his shuttle times were in the 4.4’s (fastest was 4.34) and he proved capable of jumping up and down on his once-injured knee.

For the

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next few weeks, Bowers, who led the nation with 16 sacks last season, will continue to perform for teams and fight the notion that he’s a one-hit wonder.

"My first year I didn’t have a great year, but I wasn’t playing a whole lot," he said. "My sophomore year, I had a pretty decent year. I had pretty decent numbers and injury hampered a couple of my games. This year, I turned it up. I was starting full time. I knew the defense. I had been in the system two years. I felt comfortable. I had one good year and the rest were considered busts."

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 31, 2011 6:42 pm

League gives Lions 7th-round pick back (sort of)

Posted by Andy Benoit

Over a year ago, Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham made this comment: “[Kansas City] keeps wanting to dump their players. I would like to be there to catch a lot of them, because I know a couple of those guys.”

The problem? Cunningham’s comments were technically a form of tampering. So, the NFL docked the Lions a seventh-round draft choice in 2011 and also forced them to swap fifth-round picks with the Chiefs (moving Kansas City up 14 slots and Detroit down 14 slots).

On Thursday, the league decided that because of the labor situation, a seventh-round draft choice is more valuable than usual this year. So, it altered Detroit’s punishment to a sixth-round pick in 2012.

If you’re up for reading really far into this, it’s interesting that the NFL would take this view about the labor issues and value of late-round draft choices. The reason a seventh-round pick is extra valuable is because if the lockout is still going on after the draft, teams won’t be able to sign rookie free agents. In altering the Lions’ tampering punishment, the league is essentially indicating that it’s a very real possibility the lockout will still be going on after April 30. We already knew that, but the confirmation is still noteworthy.

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Posted on: March 31, 2011 5:14 pm

Von Miller will attend the NFL Draft

Posted by Andy Benoit

There is now no excuse for any invited rookie not to attend the 2011 NFL Draft. After all, Von Miller, the only rookie plaintiff in the players’ lawsuit against the owners, will be at Radio City Music Hall.

"I'm honored to get an invitation and I plan on being there," Miller said via ESPN.com. "It's always been a dream of mine, having my name called and being able to walk across the stage and shake the hand of the commissioner."

That’s the same commissioner that Miller’s soon-to-be union/trade association has been publicly censuring the past few weeks. Miller will be in St. Paul next Thursday to attend the NFL hearing before Judge Susan Nelson in U.S. District Court.

The one DeMaurice Smith called “a brave young Aggie” did not express any concern about whether his presence at April’s draft will ruffle the feathers of his future peers.

"It doesn't change my stance with current NFL players," Miller said. "This is just separating the personal from the business. Personally, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fulfill a dream that my mom and dad, myself and my family can enjoy a very emotional day. But I still plan on being there for the players in trying to get this lockout lifted."

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com