With Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Cam Newton of Auburn set to participate in all the drills at this week's annual NFL Scouting Combine, at least one influential draft expert believes Newton will be the No. 1 pick for the Carolina Panthers.
"It would shock me... if he's not the first player picked," the Cowboys' former personnel chief told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "If I was drafting and I had
But Brandt stops short of proclaiming Newton a can't-miss prospect, and suggests that Newton needs to show a great work ethic to make it in the NFL.
"I just hope he realizes how hard he needs to work," Brandt said. "You can have all the ability in the world but if you don't work like Drew Brees, Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers, you're only going to be semi-successful."
Newton will almost certainly be the first quarterback taken, and the chances appear good that the Panthers will select him. But it's no lock, mostly because personnel people around the NFL aren't sold that Newton has the inner fortitude to persevere through the NFL's difficult adjustment period. The Panthers last year took Jimmy Clausen in the second round, but it's believed they'd consider another quarterback if they're sold on him. And with Newton clearly the top-rated quarterback in this year's class, it's a matter of whether the Panthers are sold on him or not.
Newton might answer a lot of questions in his interview sessions this week, as well as his on-field performance in the various Combine drills. He'll surely be asked about the pay-for-play allegations involving his father, his 2008 arrest for stealing a fellow student's laptop while at Florida, and allegations of academic issues when he played at Florida.
"I want it to be known that I want to be transparent through this whole thing," Newton said. "I don't have nothing to hide. I'm in control of my destiny right now and I'm lucky to be in this type of driver's seat."