BCS National Championship: Auburn Duo Cam Newton and Nick Fairley Top NFL Draft?

Brandon GalvinFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Quarterback Cameron Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates the Tigers 22-19 victory against the Oregon Ducks in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The day has come and passed.

The No. 1-ranked Auburn Tigers, led by Heisman trophy winner Cam Newton and defensive tackle Nick Fairley, defeated the No. 2 Oregon Ducks, led by Heisman trophy candidate LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas.

Unexpectedly, the defenses stepped up in the Championship game, not the offense. This game was expected to be a video game-like offensive output, but was instead a close 22-19 game with plenty of huge defensive plays. From sacks to interceptions, to forced fumbles and recoveries, this game had just about everything.

It was interesting to see just how Cam Newton would fare following the long layoff and the pressure of completing a storybook dream season consisting of an undefeated regular season, record-breaking statistics, a Heisman trophy and a BCS National Championship.

Newton succeeded.

He may have had his worst game of the season, actually, but he completed the fairytale regardless.  

When it was all said and done, Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers were the ones with all of the Tostitos when the game was over.

Newton completed 20 of 34 attempted passes (58.8 completion percentage) for 265 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He was surprisingly below average on the ground, rushing 22 times for 46 yards. He was sacked twice and fumbled on the first, but Auburn luckily recovered.

Nick Fairley came in well-prepared and in shape, which is not always common with defensive lineman due to the long layoff. Fairley was a beast in the game though. He was non-stop against the Oregon offense.

Both of these players displayed great poise in the National Championship to go along with their spectacular seasons.

These two deserve to be among the top players picked in the draft with their remarkable physical talents.

There is a great chance that presumably new Carolina Panthers head coach could take Nick Fairley, No. 1 overall, to build his defense around.

Although Newton made a few errant throws, he has displayed every physical tool necessary to compete in the NFL. Newton could very well be drafted as high as No. 5 overall to the Arizona Cardinals, who would be able to provide Newton with one of the best receivers the game has ever seen in Larry Fitzgerald.

In no way, shape or form should Newton be dropped down any NFL draft boards for his “average” performance in the BCS National Championship victory.

Was Newton outshined by true freshman Michael Dyer?


Dyer was the star of the show.

However, Newton was the glue that held the Tigers together all season and was the primary reason the Tigers had any chance at competing for the National Championship.

Mark my words, that team will not be back there in 2012 if Newton declares for the NFL draft. Even if Nick Fairley returns, Newton’s ballistic season led the Tigers to fruition.

Both Fairley and Newton are first-round talents and will be drafted as such. Newton could very well fall in the draft, but teams with quarterback needs like the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings would all be foolish to pass on him because he will be a superstar in the NFL just like he was in college.