Cam Newton cracks the Big Board

Anyone who checks in on the Big Board every week, and is familiar with how I do rankings, knows that I'm reluctant to put players with eligibility remaining on the Big Board unless I feel I have a pretty good indication as to what they'll be doing when it comes time to make a decision about the draft. The big news this week is that Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is on the Big Board for the first time.

I go into great detail as to why I made that decision in this piece, so if you want to debate the merits of his inclusion, that's the place to get my thoughts. Suffice to say, I think the storm clouds now surrounding Newton, combined with his performance, means it's far likelier that he'll want to test the NFL waters this spring. The Big Board isn't a morality discussion; these are rankings based on where I believe draft participants stand as NFL prospects. Through that prism, Newton is a gifted athlete with remarkable physical skills, a proven ability to win and a very underrated skill set as a passer. There are other significant movements this week, so take a look. As always, juniors and draft-eligible sophomores are noted with an asterisk.

Big Board Bar

1 Andrew Luck *


Analysis: His completion percentage up a full 10 points, Luck balances improvement with refinement. Holding steady here, Luck is a prototype. Last week: No. 1

2 A.J. Green *


Analysis: Green has been mostly unstoppable even with a young QB; was totally dominant on big stage Saturday, which I discuss here. Last week: No. 2


Da'Quan Bowers *


Analysis: Among leaders in TFL, even as blocking attention has increased. A tremendous physical talent who has shown a steady relentlessness this year. Last week: No. 4


Patrick Peterson *


Analysis: I praised Peterson in last week's Stock Watch; he's more than an athlete. Peterson has continued to improve his technical cover skills. Last week: No. 3


Prince Amukamara


Analysis: I'd be more concerned about Amukamara's zero interceptions in 2010 if any quarterback were willing to challenge him. A gifted technician. Last week: No. 5