2011 NFL Draft: Despite Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills Should Draft Cam Newton

Orly Rios Jr.Analyst IIMarch 2, 2011

Cam Newton can bring the kind of excitment to Buffalo that hasn't been seen since Doug Flutie.
Cam Newton can bring the kind of excitment to Buffalo that hasn't been seen since Doug Flutie.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

From 1988 to 1999, the Buffalo Bills made the playoffs 10 times, won the AFC East six times, and appeared in four straight Super Bowls from 1990 to 1993.

Since then, the New England Patriots and New York Jets have owned the division. Buffalo has lost their prestige of being a once great franchise and have even lost one home game a season since 2008, when they began playing one game during the regular season at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

Within the past couple of seasons, rumors have begun to catch fire of the Bills leaving Buffalo and heading West to California or moving further north, giving the NFL it's first franchise in Canada.

Although the rumors may prove to be false in the end, one thing is certain, the Buffalo Bills and their fans need a reason to get excited.

Cam Newton may be that reason.

For those football fans who thought that the story of Tim Tebow could never be topped, I present the 2010 story of Cam Newton, from junior college transfer to Heisman Trophy and National Champion in one season.

Newton committed to the University of Florida where ironically, he won the back-up job to Tim Tebow. After allegations of academic cheating as well as possession of stolen property, Newton left Florida and transferred to Blinn Junior College in Texas, where he lead the Buccaneers to a NJCAA National Title (National Junior College Athletic Association).

In December 2009, Newton committed back to the SEC and the Auburn Tigers. His first and only season at Auburn is the stuff of legend.

Newton was named the Associated Press Player of the Year, won the 2010 Heisman Trophy as well as the Walter Camp Award (College Football Player of the Year), the Maxwell Award (College Football Player of the Year as awarded by the Press and Coaches), the Davey O'Brien Award (best quarterback in College football) and lead the Auburn Tigers to an undefeated season and a National Title win over the Oregon Ducks.

With the possibility of his stock not rising any higher, Newton declared for the NFL Draft and attended the NFL Combine last week, participating in all major QB drills and interviews.

In the end, Newton did less than stellar, only connecting on 11 of 21 passes attempted and his interview with scouts seemed more guarded than open.

Regardless, the Buffalo Bills, who hold the third overall pick, should take a strong look and would be wise to draft and capitalize on the Cam Newton express. Newton would give Buffalo instant and free publicity as well as a reason to get excited about the 2011 season (if there's one).

Ryan Fitzpatrick, the current Bills quarterback put up a solid season, throwing for 3,000 yards and 23 touchdown passes in 13 games. Twice this season, Fitzpatrick threw for four-touchdowns in a game and lead the Bills back from 28-7 deficit to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 49-31.

Despite the gutsy and noteworthy efforts, the Bills were just 4-9 with Fitzpatrick under center.

Although Newton may not be ready to step in as the starter for the 2011 season, Newton gives the fans and the city something to get excited about and that's a good thing for the once proud Buffalo Bills.

One of the most common draft ideas is whether to take the best available player or draft based on need. Right now, the Buffalo Bills need to do both. Newton's 2010 season validates him as the best player in this year's draft and his selection would give Buffalo the kind of the excitement that New Orleans got when they selected Reggie Bush back in 2006.

Cam Newton makes sense.