NFL Draft 2011: Cam Newton and Top 10 Prospects with Character Concerns

Ethan Norof@ethan_norofCorrespondent IApril 8, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: Cam Newton and Top 10 Prospects with Character Concerns

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    SAN DIEGO, CA - FEBRUARY 10: 2010 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Cam Newton of Auburn throws the ball during his workout routine for the media at Cathedral High School's sports stadium on February 10, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kent Horn
    Kent Horner/Getty Images

    If former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton were a different skin color, it's hard to imagine that there would be this much hoopla surrounding the talented prospect. 

    With just three weeks left until the draft, it's crunch time, and teams are making final decisions as to who will become a new member of the franchise.

    These 10 prospects have a lot to prove before the teams are officially on the clock. 

10. Greg Little, WR North Carolina

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 26:  Aaron Berry #17 of the Pittsburgh Panthers tackles Greg Little #8 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game on December 26, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    When are prospects going to learn that it's not a good idea to lie to the NCAA board?

    It's not crazy to compare Greg Little's case to 2010 fourth-rounder Mike Williams, but by no means is Little a lock to come in and produce like Williams did in his inaugural campaign.

    To put it nicely, he's been less than honest in his pre-draft interviews and he's doubtful to be selected before the third round.  

9. Robert Quinn, DE North Carolina

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 19:  Robert Quinn #42 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates after a sack with teammate Marvin Austin #9 against the East Carolina Pirates at Kenan Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by St
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Similar to Little, there are some serious concerns with Quinn's honesty after sitting out the 2010 season, but this kid is an absolute specimen.

    The majority of teams shouldn't put too much stock into his receiving of improper benefits, as the issue is far more prevalent than either the NCAA or the teams themselves would like to admit.

    He's also got a brain tumor that might scare some teams off, but that hasn't been an issue for him in quite some time. 

8. Da'Quan Bowers, DE Clemson

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    AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Da'Quan Bowers #93 of the Clemson Tigers against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Bowers has medical red flags galore, and his work ethic and motor for the game are both in serious question.

    It's no wonder that the former "lock" to go inside the top five is no a candidate to fall well out of the top 10 and into the back-end of the first round.

7. Adrian Clayborn, DE Iowa

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    TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Defensive end Adrian Clayborn #94 of the Iowa Hawkeyes in action during the Insight Bowl against the Missouri Tigers at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona. The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24.  (Photo by
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The issue with Clayborn was his poor 2010 season, leading many to believe that he doesn't have the love for the game that's necessary at the next level.

    Some are also concerned that his small-ish shoulders may not be able to support his overly inflated head, and those type of attitudes tend to wear out their welcome very quickly within the veterans on a team. 

6. Jonathan Baldwin, WR Pittsburgh

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 26:  Jonathan Baldwin #82 of the Pittsburgh Panthers watches as teammate Dion Lewis #28 fumbles the ball at the goal line against the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game on December 26, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Hello, Michael Crabtree.

    Oh, this isn't the diva wide receiver? Well it's the second coming.

    It's pretty amazing that he thinks of himself in such high regard before ever setting foot on an NFL gridiron. 

5. Jimmy Smith, CB Colorado

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    BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 07:  Wide receiver Jeff Fuller #8 of the Texas A&M Aggies makes a reception against the defense of Jimmy Smith #3 of the Colorado Buffaloes during NCAA college football action at Folsom Field on November 7, 2009 in Boulder, Colorado
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Smith doesn't tell the truth, has had trouble with drugs and run-ins with the law.

    What NFL team wouldn't be attracted to an impressive résumé like that?

    It's a shame, because without all of the red flags, he'd be a bona fide top 15 pick. 

4. Marvin Austin, DT North Carolina

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 7:  Marvin Austin #9 of the North Carolina Tar Heels rushes against Brian Moore #68 of the Duke Blue Devils at Kenan Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Three North Carolina players on a list of 10 prospects: are you noticing a pattern here?

    Luckily for Austin, his natural talent will almost certainly crush any potential concerns regarding him, as he was referred to as one of the top linemen in the country before being banished off of the UNC campus in 2010.

    He's been "unstoppable" this offseason, and the interest in him is only moving up by the day. 

3. Nick Fairley, DT Auburn

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28:  Defensive lineman Nick Fairley of Auburn looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Once considered the heavy favorite to go first overall, Fairley is not even in the conversation anymore.

    While some of that is due to his inconsistent play, there are also some serious concerns about Fairley's work ethic.

    It seems like he only wants to play when he's got the fire in his eye, and he's going to need to have that fire lit permanently if he wants to keep succeeding. 

2. Ryan Mallett, QB Arkansas

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Quarterback Ryan Mallett #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks looks to hand the ball off against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on January 4, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Pho
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    He's still not getting the attention that Newton receives, and frankly, that's astounding.

    Mallett has it all: trouble with the law, drugs and a poor work ethic.

    He's the perfect trifecta of concern, yet he only ranks at number two here. 

1. Cam Newton, QB Auburn

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Cam Newton runs the 40-yard dash during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The kid is great, and I'm a big fan of his shtick, but he's bringing it on himself to an extent.

    Newton is both an entertainer and an icon, there's no doubt about that, but perhaps it's for the wrong reasons.

    He's drawing the spotlight, which is exactly what he wants, but if he fails in the face of the public eye, it's going to be an awfully hard fall for young Cameron.