When Mike Mayock (NFL Network) unveiled the first iteration of his Top 32 prospects in the 2011 NFL Draft, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was his third-ranked quarterback, and landed at No. 22 on the list. That has changed, as Mayock revealed Monday night that he's bumped Newton up to his second-ranked quarterback - moving past Jake Locker - and is up to No. 16 on his new list.
What's caused the rise? Mayock is starting to buy into Newton the person; he's been sold on Newton the player all along.
"With Cam Newton, it's always been about the kid, not the quarterback," Mayock said last night. "I buy into the quarterback. Mechanically, (he's) so much better than Vince Young or Tim Tebow, both first-round picks. With me at the quarterback position, after God and family, in whatever order that is, football better be three. I've never been positive about that with Cam Newton. Ever since the end of the season, he wins a national championship, he's in great shape at the Combine, he throws the ball extremely well at his pro day, and I look at this kid - he's dotting all the i's, he's crossing all the t's, he's done a great job with all the teams in the meetings, so I'm starting to buy into the fact that the kid cares. My only concern is, going forward, after you pay him millions and millions of dollars, does he still want to be the best quarterback in football, or is icon and entertainer good enough for him?"