SB Nation released their latest 2011 NFL mock draft this morning and they currently have the 49ers drafting Auburn QB Cam Newton. As they put it, " The 49ers were a competent coach and a play-making quarterback away from a cakewalk to the NFC West title in 2010. They’ve got their competent coach in Jim Harbaugh; it may be too tempting to pass on the ultra-productive Newton here."
I have plenty of research to do regarding quarterbacks in the draft because the 49ers most certainly will select at least one quarterback at some point in the April NFL Draft. However, with Jim Harbaugh’s announcement that he will implement the West Coast offense, one has to wonder if Cam Newton is the right choice. Coach Harbaugh discussed the specific characteristics he looks for in a quarterback:
[Jim Harbaugh] “Athletic instincts, accuracy, timing, decision making, leadership, intelligence, and you could keep going on and on here, and they’re all important. They’re important like to a carpenter, the hammer, the saw, the nails, the ruler – you need ‘em all. So we’re trying to find those men and develop those characteristics and those abilities.”
Cam Newton had one solid year at a junior college and one great year at Auburn. One has to wonder if he can make the necessary passes at the next level to be successful in a west coast style offense. And given his off the field issues over the course of his college career, one has to wonder if he’s ready to be an NFL quarterback. Even with a rookie cap in a new CBA, a first round pick is still gonna cost a lot of money. Is this the guy you want to invest in?