Cam Newton's performance at his pro day will neither send his stock soaring nor plummeting. But after he failed to impress with his passing at the NFL combine, there are some things to shore up, and Newton does want to make a positive impression on the coaches and scouts in attendance.
He wants to show he's been working hard with QB coach George Whitfield Jr., that he's a coachable player who is making progress in terms of mechanics and becoming more consistent overall.
Newton's rare combination of size and agility is apparent to anyone who watched Auburn play in 2010, and it's clear that he has a quick release and that the ball jumps off his hand, but there are a few things we'll be looking for during his scripted passing session.
First, after playing in a run-heavy spread scheme in college, is Newton showing more urgency in his drops and getting set to throw more quickly? And is he throwing with better anticipation and getting the ball out on time, especially on seam routes, outs and comebacks?
Finally, are Newton's mechanics improving? Is he stepping to his target and shifting his weight from back to front? And is his overall accuracy improving along with his mechanics?
The pro day is just the first test Newton needs to pass, though. The second, and far more important, is how he performs during meetings with teams that come to Auburn to work him out and interview him or fly him to their facilities for intensive film/whiteboard work and general grilling on intangibles and character issues.
Teams will keep the information they gather in those interviews close to the vest, but needless to say Newton has to perform well in those situations to convince teams he can be trusted as the face of a franchise. How he handles the interview process will determine his ultimate draft position.
Here's a look at the eight teams drafting in the top 12 that we currently identify as having some interest in a quarterback and where they will be picking. All could be in play for Newton at this point.
Newton is getting most of the attention at this point, but there is plenty of talent to go around in this year's draft class. There has been an average of 4.6 quarterbacks taken in the first three rounds of the past three drafts, but we could see as many as eight off the board before Day 2 is over this year.
Here are the eight listed in order of their draft grade and when they are scheduled for pro day workouts.
1. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri (March 17)
2. Newton (March 8)
3. Jake Locker, Washington (March 30)
4. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas (March 8)
5. Andy Dalton, TCU (March 11)(
6. Christian Ponder, Florida State (March 16)
7. Ricky Stanzi, Iowa (March 21)
8. Colin Kaepernick, Nevada (March 22)
Todd McShay is the director of college scouting for Scouts Inc. He has been evaluating prospects for the NFL draft since 1998