A month ago we postulated that Auburn quarterback Cam Newton could end up being taken by the Washington Redskins with the No. 10 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. At that time, tons of people agreed with us. Well, apparently things have changed a bit.
In his latest mock draft, Mel Kiper has Newton going No. 3 overall to the Buffalo Bills. His reasoning is that the Bills could keep Ryan Fitzpatrick around and develop Newton at a slower pace. Given what Kiper calls his “total package of skills and size, and his proven ability as a guy who can adapt, deal with adversity and win,” Newton should go in the top five.
In Todd McShay’s latest mock he has Newton going to the Redskins at No. 10, because he sees the Heisman Trophy winner as the biggest boom-or-bust prospect in this draft class. He has Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert as the top quarterback on his board, coming off at No. 5 to the Arizona Cardinals.
McShay has the Bills taking Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller at No. 3 because they desperately need help in the front seven. In his previous mock, Kiper agreed with McShay that the Bills needed something on the defensive front, and he had Buffalo taking Alabama defensive end/tackle Marcell Dareus.
So would the Bills actually be willing to sink a huge chunk of money into Cam Newton, when it would essentially be a roll of the dice as to whether or not he can produce in the NFL? Frankly, I don’t see it. Someone will believe in Newton’s talent. Someone will either trade up to take him or he’ll fall to the Redskins at No. 10. But I don’t see the Bills reaching for him at No. 3 when they have a ton of other holes and players are available to help fill them.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will probably start in Buffalo next year regardless of whether or not the team drafts a quarterback. Since that’s the case, I don’t see the point in taking someone else to back him up for a year. If Andrew Luck was in this draft, he would be a quarterback worthy of a top-five pick. But Newton and Gabbert simply aren’t on that level.
The Bills have done some stupid things over the years to grab headlines, and Buffalo is as sports-cursed as any on the planet (other than Cleveland of course). But frankly, at this point Bills deserve a solid pick that helps the team’s foundation going forward, not a flashy headline grabber.