Interesting information today via Tony Pauline. He claims soures have told him Auburn duo Cam Newton (QB) and Nick Fairley (DT) plan to declare for the 2011 NFL Draft.
It’s wouldn’t be much of a surprise. Fairley is having a tremendous year with nine sacks and an interception already. It’d make sense for him to strike while the iron is hot.
Newton is the heart of the team’s success. He’s accounted for 27 total touchdowns and rushed for +170 yards five times this year. He’s the clear front runner for the Heisman trophy. As a fourth year player it wouldn’t be surprising to see him go one-and-done with Auburn, having previously transferred from Florida and joined the JUCO ranks.
Statistically they’re having the kind of year you’d expect would lead to leaving college early. They may also appeciate Auburn’s difficulty in repeating success in 2011 if they do, for example, go unbeaten and win the BCS title game. What more would there be to achieve?
I’ve currently got Fairley in the 20-32 range, but he’s the hot name at the moment and many have him higher. Mel Kiper has him #8 on his latest big board. I’ve discussed Newton in more detail here and here. I wouldn’t draft him to play quarterback. Clearly he’s a world class athlete with amazing size (6-6, 250lbs). However, he’s got serious mechanical issues as a passer and acts as a run-first QB with Auburn.
He’s only completed more than 15 passes in a game once this year and he’s only attempted more than 20 passes twice. He systematically destroyed LSU last weekend, while only passing for 86 yards and no touchdowns. I absolutely could see a team falling in love with the athletic qualities and taking him in round one – but I wouldn’t pull that trigger.