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Tag:NFL combine
Posted on: February 24, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 2:07 pm
 

Newton under consideration for Panthers at No. 1

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

INDIANAPOLIS -- Cam Newton, our 11th-ranked prospect in the NFL Draft, is a fascinating talent (though we have yet to see his skills as an entertainer), and the Carolina Panthers would be crazy to not at least consider the player one scout called "the black Ben Roethlisberger" with the top overall pick.

And it appears they'll do just that -- new Panthers coach Ron Rivera told the assembled media at the NFL combine that Carolina is considering about 10 players with the top overall pick. Newton is apparently one of those players, and the Panthers' front office plans on bringing him to Charlotte for a private workout.

"He's a tall, powerful young man," Rivera said. "He's got great athletic ability. He might be the better athlete of all of [the QB prospects]. But again, the one thing he does have is he's got a great arm. And he's a winner. You go back to his junior college and his college days, you can't pass that up, either.

"We've got to explore. There's eight, 9, 10 guys that we're looking at. We're going to explore all avenues with everybody."

So, Chad Reuter was right -- Newton is absolutely in play as the top overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Of course, so are guys like Da'Quan Bowers, Nick Fairley, Patrick Peterson, A.J. Green, Von Miller and Robert Quinn (my best guess at the "first seven" guys that Marty Hurney and his staff will be picking from).

The notion that the Panthers are a defensive-minded team coached by a defensive-minded guy in Rivera makes Newton seem kind of illogical as a top pick. But given the state of the CBA -- wide open for now, especially with respect to rookie contracts -- and the Panthers desire to land someone with a large, marketable profile means that Newton can't be counted out at No. 1 overall quite yet.

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Posted on: February 24, 2011 11:23 am
Edited on: February 24, 2011 1:57 pm
 

Fox: 'Kyle Orton is our starter' in Denver

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

INDIANAPOLIS -- The issue of starting quarterback in Denver was one of great intrigue, until John Fox decided to put it to bed in his first NFL combine news conference (ever!) on Thursday.

Asked about Tim Tebow and the possibility of trading Kyle Orton away, Fox quickly pointed out that Orton's currently the starter.

"As far as I’m concerned, he’s under contract and he's the starting QB for the Denver Broncos," Fox said. "Kyle Orton is our starter."

Fox also said that Tebow has "intangibles," which is a polite way of saying "he's a great leader and not a great quarterback."

All of this can change by the time that the season starts (IF it starts, of course) and it's possible that Tebow could make leaps and bounds during the offseason that get him a shot at starting.

But Fox isn't coming into Denver just to try and develop players -- he wants to win games too. And Orton, more so than Tebow, probably gives him the best chance to win right now.

Another interesting note from Fox's media conference involved the running game.

"You need two good players at running back," Fox said, pointing out that a "commitment to run" involves more than one talented running back.

It's unlikely the Broncos will burn the No. 2 overall pick on someone to pound the rock, but it's also not unreasonable that Knowshon Moreno will get some help in the backfield come 2011.

Fox also complimented his boss, John Elway, who's been prominently featured on Twitter, scooping every reporter in the Denver area.

"This isn't a P.R. move," Fox said of Elway. "He's burning the midnight oil. He's working hard. He's very willing to learn."

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Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:43 pm
 

Cam Newton's media tour in full-force pre-Combine

Posted by Will Brinson

Cam Newton, the 11th overall prospect on CBSSports.com's list, is on a tour-de-force media campaign with UnderArmour right now (although, ahem, they haven't called ME since his recent signing with the company) as he makes sure that people know who he is before the Combine and NFL Draft.

Just in case, you know, the entire "my dad might have gotten paid to send me to college" and "I'm awesome enough to single-handedly get Auburn a national title" storylines from the past year didn't get everyone's attention.

Newton's slinging lines, too, in these interviews.

I see myself not only as a football player, but an entertainer and icon," Newton told Peter King of Sports Illustrated.

Lest you think he's arrogant because of that, well, he's not. Or he is and he knows it. One of those.

"I don’t want to sound arrogant but I did something in one year people couldn't do in their whole collegiate careers," Newton told Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel in a separate interview. We had a chance to do something great and we did it."

Auburn most certainly did something special (the only question is how long that title will hold up) but I'm with Clark Judge on this one -- Cam needs to "get another line," when it comes to things he's planning on saying to the press and NFL teams.

What he needs to do is show NFL teams he's ready to step in and be a humble contributor (a la Tim Tebow) willing to work on developing his natural talent into a full-blown NFL career.

But then again, maybe Newton's on to something -- I've heard the Panthers are highly interested in drafting a "marketable star" with their top overall pick, and if Newton plays his cards right and can prove he's a franchise quarterback, he could end up at the top of the draft.

Which, oddly enough, is exactly where Chad Reuter had him in his most recent mock draft.

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Posted on: February 23, 2011 11:26 am
Edited on: February 23, 2011 11:59 am
 

NFL calls for Thursday meeting of GMs, coaches

Posted by Will Brinson

A Thursday meeting of agents and the NFLPA was recently cancelled because of mediation talks in Washington, D.C., but that didn't stop the NFL from calling a meeting of general managers and coaches for Thursday in Indianapolis.

Presumably, the NFL wants to sit down with high-ranking members of its various teams and discuss precisely what's going on with the league as the deadline for a new CBA nears.

And, according to what NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Albert Breer of the NFL Network, there's "nothing special" about this little powwow.

"It happens every year," Aiello said. "It's a normal part of the Combine, which always has meetings galore. It's not the first time. It's not a special meeting. An update on labor negotiations would be appropriate."

Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, the NFL will also detail to those in attendance what sort of activities will be allowed during a locked-out offseason, and what kind of contact will be allowed between agents and teams during that time as well.

And these are things that teams need to know, regardless of whether the NFL and NFLPA are making progress in their seven-day mediation or not. The question as to why the NFLPA cancelled its Thursday meeting can best be answered by a series of tweets from spokesman George Atallah Tuesday, when he mentioned that the "tiny minority of agents who click "FWD" on an email to the media faster than [Chris Johnson] can run the 40 is not helpful." In other words, the NFLPA didn't want to meet with a slew of agents on Thursday and have some news of the meeting -- which would likely include details of the mediation process -- leak to the media.

It's much less likely that a hand-picked group of coaches and GMs would let spill to the various members of the press the happenings of that meeting (they have much less to gain by doing so), and the NFL's got a clear-cut opportunity to sit down with folks that need to know the information in the form of the Combine. So, nothing to see here. Yet.

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Posted on: February 22, 2011 10:59 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 11:03 pm
 

Gabbert will run, won't throw at Combine

Posted by Will Brinson

It's a weird year or the NFL Draft, because there are tons of quarterback-needy teams and not a lot of guarantees at the position. If one of the top QBs can come into the Combine this weekend and light things up, they could jump up draft boards real quick.

But it probably won't be Blaine Gabbert, the top quarterback in our both our prospect rankings and on Rob Rang's Big Board. That's because the Missouri quarterback won't be throwing during the Combine.

"Gabbert will run. He's just not going to throw," Gabbert's agent Tom Condon said per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We haven't had any of our guys throw (at the Combine)."

Then again, maybe Condon knows what he's doing. After all, he's had success with a few quarterbacks in the NFL Draft -- Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, and Sam Bradford leap to mind as guys who did okay on draft day.

And maybe there's no work to be done anyway. Gabbert's apparently considered the top option for at least one team, the Titans, and both Rang and Chad Reuter have Gabbert going to Tennessee eighth, which might just make things a natural fit.

Additionally, it's a logical move by Condon and Gabbert to avoid too much scrutiny on his role as a "system quarterback" at Missouri. If he struggles with certain throws at the Combine, people will wonder if he can easily make the jump to the next level.

As it stands right now, though, he's a hot commodity who actually stands to lose ground on draft boards if he doesn't come out and blow people away.

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Posted on: February 21, 2011 7:34 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2011 8:06 pm
 

Cam Newton will fully participate at Combine

Posted by Andy Benoit

The 2011 Combine just got a little more interesting. According to NFL Network (via Evan Silva of Rotoworld), former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton will fully participate in the event. Newton, apparently, wants to be transparent.

We’ll assume that full participation includes throwing in front of scouts. Most quarterbacks, and especially projected first rounders, prefer to throw only at their school’s Pro Day. Pro Days give them a chance to target familiar receivers; the Combine does not.

Scouts, of course, love when players fully participate because it gives them a chance to get more of their work done up front. In the case of Newton, considering he’s considered a raw prospect with upside, throwing at the Combine can do a lot more good than harm.

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UPDATE 8:05 p.m. EST: In related news, USA Today's Jim Corbett says Blaine Gabbert is not expected to throw at the Combine. Jake Locker probably will throw.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 13, 2011 7:43 pm
 

Combine boycott unlikely, but 'momentum growing'?

Posted by Will Brinson

The idea that the NFLPA could generate a boycott of the NFL Combine is pretty far out there. An entire group of incoming NFL "freshmen" would have to get on board with stonewalling their future employers at a time when they are all seeking to get paid for the first (or in the case of Marvin Austin, second) time in their professional careers.

But Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reports that on the heels of some increasing tension and low-ball offers from the NFL, "momentum for some type of protest is growing" within the ranks of the players.

That hypothetical protest, which would need the approval of all agents representing players at the Combine, didn't draw a response from the NFLPA.

"Our conversations with contract advisers [agents] are confidential," NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said.

And if it seems pretty unlikely that every single agent repping a player at the Combine could get on the same page, well, it is. However, consider that the NFL is (reportedly) offering the NFLPA a setup for a rookie wage scale that severely hampers the amount of money that NFL players will make.

Agents, of course, make their livings based on a percent of those NFL players' revenues -- if the salaries of all future NFL players are severely reduced, the salaries of all agents will also be severely reduced. So, there's absolutely some motivation present to incite the agents into convincing their clients not to attend the combine.

Still, it's unlikely to go down -- Cole spoke with numerous "top agents" who point out that it's just too difficult to pull off.

"You're talking about players who have been training for two months and now, all of a sudden, they’re all not going to work out? That's not happening," the agent said. "To me, it would be great if they would do it. If all the agents would agree, I would do it. But I just can't see all the agents and players going along with it. Not at this point."

And besides, if the NFLPA really wants to take a lethal shot at the league's PR, they should just wait until the NFL Draft.

While the folks who run the NFL Network would be incredibly incensed at having a ton of no-shows for the Combine, the reaction from ESPN executives if the top talent bailed on its three-day, high-profile event in late April would be even better. Not to mention a prime example of the serious problems the league could face from its top revenue sources (its broadcast partners) if a lockout continued into the season.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com