Cam Newton you've just won the National Championship what are you going to do now? I'm going into the NFL draft. Well of course he is, there's little reason for him to wait and some good ones for him to go now. A lot of NFL teams need a QB, but how high will he be drafted and how long will it take for him to be an NFL ready QB?
Newton is smart to go into the draft now. Before all the information about his "pay for play" story comes out, and come out it will. It may take months, it may take years, but it will come out. Go in now while his performance on the field this season is fresh in drafters minds. Go in now while a lot of teams need a QB. Go in now and get started on the work that he will have to do to become a viable, albeit average QB, in the NFL. Waiting only lets more information about his off the field doings come out and lessen his stock. Waiting only gives an opportunity for him to be injured playing college ball. Waiting only makes it a year longer that it takes for him to try and get ready enough to be an NFL QB.
Newton has the size and arm strength, but like so many other college QBs he does not have the proper technique or mechanics that an NFL QB needs to be successful. He is much like Tim Tebow in that he will have a very big learning curve in the NFL and will most likely be ready to start for an NFL team in 2-4 years. Any team that is thinking he can come in and play right away is obviously misguided.
I look for him to go late first round. I do not believe the teams with a high first round pick will go for Newton. They have all watched him play and they all know that it will take lots of teaching for him to be even an average NFL QB. A lot of the teams with high first round picks need a QB right now, like yesterday and Cam Newton is not that guy.
The Panthers pick first and they have to decide if Clausen is their QB of the future or if they are going a different direction. I doubt they go for Newton though. The Bills intend to go with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their developing starter, so don't look for them to take Newton either. The Vikings do not seem invested in going with Jackson as their QB, so they might be in the market for a QB for the future. The 49ers who have been on a QB rollercoaster all season may look to make some big news by taking Newton. The Cardinals have the 5th pick in the first round, but I'm not convinced they spend it on Newton even though they do need a QB. The Jags need to start developing a younger QB and Newton may be just the fit they are looking for. The Raiders definitely need a young QB, but they have no first round picks unless they trade up for one. The Titans will need a QB after Vince Young is let go, but I doubt Fisher wants another QB with possible baggage issues. The Redskins are going to be looking for a QB and Shanahan has never shied away from developing new ones, so they might take a shot on Newton. The Seahawks tried to make a play for Kevin Kolb during free agency, so they may still be in the market to sign another QB. The Browns may be another team mentioned, but they are definitely going with Colt McCoy as their starter and he's already better than Newton will be in the NFL.
It remains to be seen where Newton goes in the draft, but I think late first round is probably correct. Whatever team picks him up has to be willing to take on the developmental job for a few years. He's not NFL ready at this point. So, my money would be on a team who has a serviceable QB at this point and is looking to develop a young one for down the road.