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What draft slot does Cam Newton deserve?

3/8/2011

On his eagerly awaited pro day (watch live at 1:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3), a pair of ESPN Insider columns explore where Auburn quarterback Cam Newton could and should be drafted.

Draft tycoon Mel Kiper lists his five best fits for Newton. The Buffalo Bills are the first team on the clock with the third draft choice.

Kiper agrees with what I've been saying for months. The Bills don't have to make an either-or decision between Newton and Ryan Fitzpatrick. The situation actually becomes more attractive because Fitzpatrick is there to handle the job and presents a high-character prototype for Newton to follow. Once Newton is ready, Fitzpatrick isn't the type to create a fuss.

Kiper's take:

In the Bills, you have an ideal situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick played well in 2010 for the most part, and offers an ideal bridge. Newton adds some excitement and possibility, but in the meantime, he can be mentored and doesn't need to take a snap at all in 2011. Plus, Chan Gailey is underrated in his ability to be creative and work to a different set of skills from a quarterback. We've seen these transitions work well, and while Buffalo loses short-term value from the draft for 2011, the Bills can bring along a potential franchise quarterback the right way.

But another analyst doesn't believe Newton should be drafted in the first round at all.

KC Joyner, aka the Football Scientist, breaks down several reasons to steer clear of Newton on the first day.

Joyner is skeptical of Newton's limited experience. Newton started only one season at Auburn, although he won the national championship and the Heisman Trophy. Joyner finds Newton has questionable mechanics, doesn't believe he's highly coachable and doesn't see him measuring up to Bill Parcells' respected NFL quarterback criteria.

To preview Tuesday's workout, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky described what NFL scouts will be looking for from Newton after a lackluster NFL combine display.

Newton completed only 11 of his 21 attempts in passing drills, often badly overthrowing his receivers at Lucas Oil Stadium.