Cam Newton's draft stock

Go ahead and look it up. Last year at this time, I said that Tim Tebow might even be better off in the NFL as an H-back. My colleague Todd McShay was also questioning Tebow, openly wondering whether the Florida star had any hope of being a QB at the NFL level. These were real conclusions (check out the 2:15 mark in this video clip). And while we both ultimately stated that Tebow would go pretty high because someone would fall in love with his potential, his prospects as an NFL QB were always in question, and still are, frankly.

It's fair to mention Tebow, because he and Cameron Newton are often linked. They are QBs known as much or more for their SEC rushing exploits; there are the Florida ties, the lack of experience in a pro-style offense, the questions about reading coverages. But that's where it should end, because their draft status at similar stages in their careers isn't similar. That's because as a QB prospect, there is no reason Newton can't or shouldn't be a first-round pick in the NFL draft. He's ahead of where Tebow was at this point, in my eyes. This isn't an H-back, or a guy better-suited to tight end. He's a quarterback, and while he has questions to answer, he's also got a real shot to make it at the next level.

So while the storm clouds around him make me think he is more likely to test the draft waters than come back for another season, it's time for an evaluation -- positives, negatives, and where his draft stock is right now. Newton cracks the Big Board this week.