With the NCAA football season only Bowl games away from being over, it is time to start the speculation as to where Auburn's phenom QB Cam Newton will continue his career at in the NFL.
Normally when a player wins the Heisman, especially at the QB position, it is the death sentence for the NFL. The list is long, but it would be a shame if that were to happen to Newton.
There is no questioning the God given talent that Newton possesses. You can't close your eyes when he has the ball, because you never know what is going to happen.
Getting Newton into the right situation with the right NFL team is the key to him being either "another running quarterback" that didn't make it, or possibly one of "the best that ever played the game".
Here are the NFL's 32 teams, their odds of taking Newton and how his career will unfold if they do.
Teams that already have a young franchise caller are out.
These teams already have what is considered a "Franchise" player at the position UNDER the age of 30, so there would be no point as to any of them wasting a first round pick on Newton.
These teams have invested in the last two years a top pick on a QB, and are not likely to have any interest in taking Newton. For any of these teams to take Newton, it would cause serious locker room issues by trading one young guy with little experience for another guy that has not proven anything.
Jets - With Sanchez developing into a true franchise quarterback (two games does not destroy a career), there is little chance of them taking Newton.
Titans - Owner Bud Adams loves Vince Young, and will probably be willing to fire his head coach of the last 20 years before letting Young go. If he doesn't, then the Titans may think about it, but it's doubtful.
Lions - Matthew Stafford plays great when not injured. If he could only keep from getting injured. Though the thought may be in the head of the Lions, with the money already paid to Stafford, it will be too much to pull the trigger on Newton.
Buccaneers - Josh Freeman is starting to become "franchise" for the Bucs.
Cowboys - The Cowboys would have been on the previous slide had Tony Romo not been injured this year, and the Cowboys were winning some games. Though it would be a surprise if Jerry Jones went after Newton, Jones NEEDS to win, and if he thinks Newton gives him the best shot, he would take it.
Rams - Sam Bradford has had an amazing year, leading the Rams to a first place tie in the NFC West. Newton WILL NOT be a Ram next year.
The Bengals starting QB, at least for 2010, is Carson Palmer. Palmer was once elite, but after injuries he is obviously not the man he once was.
The Bengals (if they are smart) are going to be looking for an upgrade at the position, and Newton may be the man that they want to be that upgrade.
If the Bengals bring in a new coach next year (Marvin Lewis is in the last year of his contract, so it is doubtful either Lewis or the Bengals will want to be together next year.), he is going to bring in a new offense.
Add to that if the Bengals keep both Chad Ochocinco and TO, Newton won't survive his rookie season.
If the Bengals select Newton, his career is as good as over (JaMarcus Russell ring any bells?).
The Browns have to be thrilled with their third round selection of 2010, you would think. And maybe they are. But, a player like Newton may be able to convince them that his talents are just too good to pass up.
The biggest obstacle here is Mike Holmgren announcing before the 2010 NFL Draft that he would not take a first round QB.
If the Browns were to draft Newton, he would have to play from the beginning, because between Delhomme and Wallace, neither has the ability to win many games next year, and the distraction with McCoy would probably force Holmgren to trade him.
By Newton having to play immediately, against the AFC North, he would probably not be very successful. The Browns are better served keeping McCoy and seeing how far he can go.
Being drafted by the Browns would destroy the career of Cam Newton.
This team is a mess.
Last year, while they had Kyle Orton, they traded Peyton Hillis to the Browns for Brady Quinn. That would indicate they wanted Quinn to be the QB of the future, right? Then they trade back into the first round to select Tim Tebow.
The last thing the Broncos need is to draft ANOTHER quarterback, ESPECIALLY in the first round.
Drafting Newton to Denver would make life miserable for him and the team. Sure sign of a bust career, don't you think?
The only thing that does not guarantee Cam Newton will be taken in the first round is the fact that the Raiders don't currently have a first round pick. There is NO WAY, that if Cam Newton is on the board that Al Davis is not going to select him.
Don't be shocked if the Raiders try to trade up to get him.
Al Davis likes freaks of nature, which Cam Newton is. If Al Davis gets the chance, Cam Newton WILL be an Oakland Raider.
How will his career go? That's a little tougher.
If the Raiders young team can continue the maturation process, then Newton may be successful. If not, and Newton had to lead from the beginning, then he might not be that great.
Please, do not think that I believe Matt Cassel is ever going to be as good as Tom Brady, but with the offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis, the Chiefs may think that one day, Cassel may be close.
He knows the system and the Chiefs have improved with him, as he may be leading them to the AFC West title.
I don't think the Chiefs are really even going to look at Newton right now.
Since the retirement of Dan Marino, the Dolphins have not been able to find anyone that can even come close to filling his shoes.
They have spent five picks in the last seven years on the QB position, with the results all being failures.
Pat White, Chad Henne, Chad Pennington, Daunte Culpepper and John Beck. Name ONE that you would want as your starting QB (How do you feel about not signing Drew Brees now?).
The Dolphins NEED to finally upgrade the position, and Newton would be that upgrade. Miami also runs the Wildcat, which would give Newton the chance to learn from the sidelines yet still get some game experience.
I think the only real problem with the Dolphins drafting Newton would be him transitioning from a Wildcat QB to a pocket one. If he can do it, the Dolphins would be a great choice.
The New England Patriots would be the IDEAL situation for Cam Newton to be in.
Not only do they have Bill Belichick, who would be able to sit Newton for three years to learn the game, he would be able to do it behind Tom Brady, arguably the best QB to ever play the position.
The Patriots have two first round picks and would probably be able to move up enough to get Newton in the top of the draft if need be.
If Newton were to go to the Patriots, he would have a great offensive line and would be able to have time to develop before he would be forced to play.
It may even prolong the career of Tom Brady. Belichick would be able to play Newton at the end of the blowout victories, and keep someone from an opposing team from taking hitting him unnecessarily.
Even though the Buffalo Bills have one of the worst records in the NFL, they are not as bad as their record indicates.
They have taken the Steelers, Ravens and Patriots to the limit, almost beating all three of them. Chan Gaily probably believes that Ryan Fitzpatrick could lead them to many victories in the future.
However, if the Bills don't think that, they will probably be looking to draft one of the top quarterbacks at the top of the NFL Draft come April.
The Bills pick high enough though that if they were to select a quarterback, they are probably going to be going for Andrew Luck out of Stanford.
Before all of the Colts fans start bashing me, hear me out. The Indianapolis Colts would be an IDEAL situation for Cam Newton to be in.
Any of you who think Peyton Manning is going to be around forever, remember what it was like BEFORE you drafted Manning. You need a player that can be groomed behind Manning, for the future, and Newton would be perfect.
The Colts have no problem spending early draft picks on offensive weapons. Newton in Indianapolis would be behind a great offensive line, have lots of weapons to throw to and not have a strong running game, so he would be able to be the leading rusher on the Colts.
Newton would be able to sit behind Manning for 2-3 years, then he would be able to learn the game and Manning's study habits.
Being drafted by the Colts could make Newton one of the best in the game, ONE DAY.
At the end of last season, most believed that Jack Del Rio could be in a lot of trouble in Jacksonville. He took a gamble with David Garrard, and that gamble was not paying off until this year.
If the Jaguars defeat the Indianapolis Colts then they will win the AFC South, and Del Rio and Garrard will both be safe. If Del Rio makes the playoffs, then he is going to keep his job and most likely, his starting quarterback.
Similar to the Raiders, if Jacksonville does a great job at developing the young talent they have on offense, Newton could have a great career in Jacksonville.
The Arizona Cardinals QB situation may be the worst in the league. Since the retirement of Kurt Warner, they have cut their second stringer and have tried to fill the position with a bunch of players that would not make most teams' practice squads.
The Cardinals should be seen as serious contenders to select Newton, but it will not be good for him.
With an poor offensive line, no running game to speak of and the best player on the team, Larry Fitzgerald, probably leaving in free agency in 2012, Newton would not have a bright future in Arizona.
I said last year that the 49ers were a QB away from being a great team, and I still believe that. If the 49ers had a leader of the offense that could command the respect of his teammates, then they would turn their team around.
I said they should have traded for Donovan McNabb, and I am going to say it again. If they want to have a successful 2011 season they need veteran experience.
That being said, the 49ers may decide to take Newton, and it would not be a good situation for him to be in. He would have to play his rookie season, and that may kill his career, along with Mike Singletary or whoever is the coach of the 49ers next year.
Matt Hasselbeck's best days are fading in the rear view mirror, and he needs to be replaced. The Seahawks thought last year they traded for his eventual replacement, Charlie Whitehurst.
In his limited playing time this season, Whitehurst has not shown that he is worthy of the third round pick they traded to the Chargers for him. Was it him, or is the team that bad?
Either way, the Seahawks may be drafting a QB early come April, and that name may be Cam Newton.
I don't think Newton would have much success in Seattle, simply because their offense is not good, and he would not have the chance to sit and learn the game from the sidelines.
If Cam Newton is a religious person, he needs to be praying every night that the Washington Redskins don't draft him.
The Redskins, who OBVIOUSLY are looking for someone that can be the starter for the next 10 years, and the way they are going about looking for that person, is destroying the confidence of Donovan McNabb.
Rex Grossman is really not a good QB and won't be that guy either.
If the Redskins take Newton, he will go the same path as Jason Campbell. He will never get to learn a system, there is not enough offensive talent around him and his career will be ruined.
The New Orleans Saints have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in Drew Brees. He is getting older, and the Saints may think about the future and go for a player like Newton.
The only problem is, they remember the days of Aaron Brooks, another mobile QB that was better at running the ball than throwing it.
I think that Newton would have a great career if he were playing for the Saints. They have a lot of offensive weapons and a great coach in Sean Payton.
The Panthers thought they had a steal when they got Jimmy Clausen in the third round of the draft. Though Clausen could still have a good career, he is the perfect example of why young players should get to watch from the sidelines before being thrown into action.
It is hard to say what is going to happen in Carolina, since there is probably going to be an entirely new coaching staff next year.
In Minnesota, the Vikings tried and failed for another great run with Brett Favre, and their season looks to be over. It is time for the Vikings to accept the fact that Favre is done and it is time to move on.
I said last year they should have traded for Donovan McNabb (like the 49ers), but they didn't. Though they may do so this year, McNabb is not the answer to their QB situation.
The Vikings need to get a young guy in place, that with the talent around him can make the Vikings contenders again. Cam Newton may be that guy.
Though I believe that Newton needs a year (at least) before he is ready to be full time, with a great running game with AP, and Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, this would be the only team that has a chance for Newton to start his rookie year and not be a flop.
In an ideal world, Cam Newton would be drafted by either the Indianapolis Colts or the New England Patriots.
Both teams would afford Newton the ability to learn the game from the sidelines and from some of the best to ever play the position. They both would be able to offer strong supporting casts, good, young talent and a future Hall of Famer to learn how to play the game from.
Unfortunately for Newton, this is probably not going to happen with either team.
I believe that Cam Newton will hear his name called with the third pick in the NFL Draft and go to the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals are going to keep Carson Palmer around for another year, with the hopes of being able to allow Newton to sit his first year like they did with Palmer.
Unfortunately, Palmer is not going to survive the season, as injuries are obviously already killing his career. And either due to ineffectiveness or injury, Newton will be forced into action in the middle of the season.
Without the strong team or ownership around him, Newton will become the next Akili Smith for the Bengals, and his career will probably be over in about five years.
I hope that I am wrong, because I think Cam Newton could be an amazing player to watch. I just think that if the Bengals do draft him, his career is going to be destroyed.