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Saturday, April 2, 2011
Bengals meeting, working out Cam Newton

By James Walker

Cam Newton
Could quarterback Cam Newton be the heir apparent to Carson Palmer in Cincinnati?
The Cincinnati Bengals are meeting and working out top quarterback prospect Cam Newton at Auburn University on Sunday and Monday. It's Cincinnati's final chance to get an up-close and personal look at Newton, who has been a lightning rod for controversy last season and throughout the pre-draft process.

With Carson Palmer's offseason trade demands, the Bengals' quarterback situation is in flux and Newton is in consideration for Cincinnati's No. 4 overall pick. Here are three things the Bengals need to accomplish during their time with Newton:

1. Separate fact from fiction

Skinny: Lately there are so many conflicting things said and written about Newton on and off the field that it's hard to determine what is accurate. The Bengals will spend plenty of time talking and running Newton through drills to make their own determination about his personality, leadership and physical abilities.

2. Can Newton fit the system?

Skinny: Through scouting and game tape, the Bengals by now should have a firm idea if Newton can fit their new West Coast offense. But this final evaluation should add to their knowledge. Newton spent his career at Auburn playing in a spread offense and will have to make the adjustment of playing under center in the NFL. The Bengals need to find out if this is an issue.

3. Finalize their draft board

Skinny: Following Monday's private workout, the Bengals should know if Newton is worthy of the No. 4 overall pick. Cincinnati has done its homework on just about every major quarterback prospect and should be finalizing its board with the draft just a few weeks away. The Bengals have to take a quarterback at some point in this draft, and it probably will happen in the first two rounds.

(P.S. My good buddy "ESPN.com staff" said our AFC North community was just a little rowdy while I was away. So I couldn't resist using this photo one more time.)