Cam Newton's draft stock has never been higher, and it probably won't go any higher than it is now.
Everyone's excited about Auburn's chances right now to win the National Championship, and he's far and away the best candidate to win the Heisman.
Please do not misconstrue my intent.
This is not meant as an attack on Cam Newton.
He is a great college football player, and his single-season heroics are up there with Vince Young in 2005.
Clearly no one has done more this season on the college gridiron to bring victories for his team.
With that said, I was asked recently where I thought he would get drafted, and my response has turned into this "article".
Please take this with a grain of salt, because I am just about the farthest thing from an NFL talent evaluator.
Cam Newton SHOULD NOT get drafted before the third or fourth round.
It would be foolish to take him any earlier, and there's no way he goes in the first round.
What about Michael Vick and Vince Young? They were both mobile quarterbacks in college who were drafted in the top five and made the transition to the pros.
First, to compare Cam Newton's draft value with Michael Vick and Vince Young is foolish, because when they were drafted, mobile quarterbacks became a popular fad.
Their draft value wouldn't be as high if they were being drafted today as it was then based on what we know now about mobile quarterbacks at the next level.
Secondly, with Vick, scouts fell in love with his rocket arm, his elusiveness and his explosiveness.
He was able to take it to the house on any given play.
With Young, scouts fell in love with his ability to make plays, both through the air and with his legs, his leadership skills and he had an above average arm to boot.
Whenever the game was on the line, Young always made the right play in the biggest moment at the most opportune time.
He almost singlehandedly beat more talented teams in Michigan and USC in back-to-back Rose Bowls.
Newton isn't even close to as explosive as either Vick or Young, doesn't have the arm strength of either, and isn't even remotely as elusive a runner
Newton is a north-south runner who isn't "shifty" and takes too many big hits in the process, hits that won't allow him to have a long and productive career at the next level should they keep up.
He's so successful at the college level because he's like Young in that he's a man among boys, athletically; he won't be at the next level.
Cam Newton doesn't have all the throwing problems that Tebow did.
Actually, many of Newton's shortcomings can be likened to Tim Tebow's when he elected to enter the draft last year.
Like Tebow, any team that drafts Newton is going to have to invest three plus years in him before he can sniff the starting lineup, just to fix his problems.
His footwork is horrendous, his throwing mechanics are terrible, and he currently plays in a "gimmicky" offense, so he's a step behind the curve in becoming an NFL passer.
You may wonder what specifically is the problem with him.
His follow through is below average, he throws off his back foot too much, he holds the ball too low when he drops back, he stands straight up in the pocket, he doesn't have enough bend in his knees when he does throw, he puts too much air under his deep throws, he's not very accurate, he doesn't have ''active feet", and he rarely steps up in the pocket when there's pressure.
Because of the offense Auburn runs, he's not up to par with making proper reads and going through his progressions, like he'll have to do as a quarterback in the NFL.
I'm not even sure he is capable of successfully reading secondaries while simultaneously experiencing extreme pressure AND being able to go through his progressions, because he just hasn't had to do that.
Just like with Tebow, some team is going to fall in love with him and grab him in the late first round, early second.
Tebow was an incredible stretch to go that early, and now the current coaching staff is likely to be joining the unemployment line, partially for that decision.
I was not an advocate of drafting him, period, let alone trading up and wasting a first rounder on him.
But at least with Tebow I could see the logic and justification to it.
Tebow possesses the intangible qualities that are hardest to develop in players.
It's much more conceivable that a team will reach for someone like Tebow and invest a few years in him because they're convinced his work ethic (and Jesus) will lead to him being successful.
There's no reason to take such a high risk on a player like Newton, who won't be playing in the NFL for three or four years, and may never turn out.
If he had the perceived character, work ethic and general respect throughout college football as Tim Tebow, it's plausible that he could slip into the end of the first or second rounds, but he doesn't have that kind of clout.
Where will Cam Newton end up getting drafted?
If he was a more polished passer, if he was notably working on his throwing form, his footwork, etc. and didn't have all the baggage surrounding him, it could make sense taking him early.
When it comes down to it, you don't waste a high draft pick and all the money that goes with it on a quarterback with questionable intelligence, suspect character and who's currently completely unprepared to play at the next level.