As much as fans have fallen in love with the Nick Fairley's and AJ Green's of the NFL draft there is a segment of people who believe the smart move is taking neither, and finding a way to move back in the draft. Hereby, we amass more picks and address more holes. When it has been discussed whether someone will trade for the #1 I've pretty much dialed up the 'it takes two to tango' line, a catch-all comment to indicate that it's going to take someone proving they're worth the #1 pick in order to find a partner. If we aren't sold there's a true #1 in this draft, then neither are the other 31 teams.
In order for someone to be worth trading up for they need to represent all three of the following characteristics:
- A player who you believe will be a difference maker
- A player who is ready to contribute immediately
- A kind of player who wont be available in the future
There is one player in this draft who fills at least two of these characteristics (the first and third) Cam Newton, and today he is having a Cecil Newton-driven, self aggrandizing, 'media day' today in which he plans to wow the media with a display of everything he's learned from George Whitfield Jr, the QB coach who famously worked with Ben Roethlisberger during his suspension.
UPDATE: There's more to this than first thought as SB Nation writer Brian Galliford says in his article here that currently six teams have Cam Newton as the #1 player in the 2011 draft.
DOUBLE UPDATE: Take it as you will, but ESPN analyst and former QB Trent Dilfer said of Cam Newton's display "That was phenomenal. If scouts saw this they'd have been slobbering."
I'm not going to be too hard on Newton for this circus of a media day- it's a strategy no different to the openness teammate Nick Fairley is being over Twitter. Both are tactics to improve their 'brand' and make them more attractive in the draft. Granted, cozying up to fans is more down to earth and appealing than a huge, self-promotional media day... but I understand why he's doing it.
Remember last year when there were so many questions about Tim Tebow? Same situation applies to Newton. Just like so many hoped Tebow would arrive at Indianapolis with a brand new throwing motion and completely sell himself as the #1 overall pick, many want Newton to arrive at Indy with no questions about his character and sell himself as a once in a decade prospect.
Let's be clear about something, if Newton somehow works out he wont just be a once in a decade prospect, he'll be a once in a generation talent. If he somehow manages to look like a hybrid of Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick then there will be no limit to his potential. That being said, the chances of this occurring are very, very slim. However, should today be the first step in blowing everyone out of the water and we start to see the hype machine build behind Cam Newton then we really could see teams clamoring to take him #1 overall, and from there we can decide to gamble on Newton or get an embarrassment of riches in compensation.