He’s almost certain to enter the 2011 NFL Draft, but given all the negative attention he’s received, is he worth the risk?
It really depends on where you’re picking. It’d be surprising if a team fell in love with Newton enough to take him in the top 10 or 15 picks.
But the Denver Broncos took Tim Tebow, who was far less polished than Newton is now, at No. 25 last year. If a team is picking at the top end of the first round and is convinced that Newton is controversy-free and worth an investment, it should still be able to trade down and still pick him.
So who could could be interested in taking Newton? Who could be interested?
- The Washington Redskins, if they choose to cut ties with Donovan McNabb (and avoid paying the rest of his insane contract) at the end of the year, are a prime contender. Washington needs a new identity and though Newton is a risk, Washington has never been afraid of high-risk, high-reward players.
- Assuming Brett Favre doesn’t come back, the Minnesota Vikings could be interested, and will likely be picking in just about the right spot. But they must decide if Tavaris Jackson has the tools to be a starter.
- The Arizona Cardinals desperately need a quarterback and also would like to inject life into a fan base that has been highly disappointed by the retirement of Kurt Warner and the loss of several other key players via free agency.
- The Oakland Raiders could be, if they recognise that Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski aren’t long-term solutions at quarterback. But they were burned by JaMarcus Russell just a few years ago.
- The Carolina Panthers will almost certainly take Andrew Luck, if he comes out too. But if they like Newton they could try to trade down a bit to acquire more assets.
- The San Francisco 49ers have given Alex Smith every chance to succeed, but their patience may be out. The team underachieved this year, but does have weapons. Still, the 49ers will likely choose a safer option at quarterback since they aren’t far away from controlling the NFC West.
- It depends what happens between Vince Young and Jeff Fisher, but if Fisher stays and gets the green-light to cut Young loose, the Tennessee Titans will need a new QB. But it’s unlikely that Fisher want to take on another potentially troublesome signal-caller.
- Matt Hasselback is basically done, so the Seattle Seahawks may be ready to draft his heir. The team has plenty of other needs though.
- The Miami Dolphins were enamoured with Chad Henne coming into the year, but his play has been uninspiring. Miami might like the idea of having a versatile quarterback to slide into its Wildcat formation.
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