Shutdown Corner - NFL

As the combine approaches, people are liking this Cam Newton fellow more and more. Last week, Mel Kiper made him the first quarterback taken in his mock draft, going third overall to the Buffalo Bills. Tuesday, longtime talent evaluator Gil Brant went a step further: He has Newton pegged for the first overall pick.

From Jimmy Burch at

"It would shock me... if he's not the first player picked," Brandt said Monday. "If I was drafting and I had Carolina's [No. 1] pick, I'd feel really good about who I was getting as far as ability. I just hope he realizes how hard he needs to work. You can have all the ability in the world but if you don't work like Drew Brees(notes), Peyton Manning(notes) or Aaron Rodgers(notes), you're only going to be semi-successful."

Brandt, former Dallas Cowboys' director of player personnel, is well aware of Newton's history and noted that Newton has created no issues for himself since leaving Florida. He's also aware that Newton is the most talented player in the 2011 draft. And in the NFL, talent rules.

Indeed it does, so maybe this should have been predictable. As we go through private workouts and the NFL combine -- where Newton will put all of his talents on display -- it's the physically gifted that tend to rise up draft boards. Newton is a chiseled 6-6, 250 pounds, moves like a dancer and throws like Nuke LaLoosh.

First overall certainly isn't out of the question. That's Carolina's spot, and obviously, it has a need at quarterback.

The biggest question mark about Newton is his ability to go through his progressions and read NFL defenses. That's not something they can really test at the combine, so it's not like it can cause his stock to fall. The only thing that can happen is that his freakish physical ability keeps pushing him higher and higher.

Gracias, Pro Football Talk.

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