Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cincinnati Bengals Draft: Should the Bengals Take Cam Newton?

Cam Newton was the quarterback for the Auburn Tigers, was clearly the best player in the country, won the Heisman Trophy, and led his team to a national championship.

Now, he will enter the 2011 NFL Draft.

Though at the moment the Bengals have Carson Palmer, there are still reasons they should take a reasonable look at Newton.

The following are 10 reasons I believe the Bengals should—or shouldn't—consider drafting Cam Newton.

No, the Bengals Sorta Have a Franchise Quarterback

Carson Palmer wants out of Cincinnati, but he is stuck.

Owner Mike Brown loves Palmer and is doing whatever it takes to keep him. He got rid of Bob Bratkowski, per Palmer's request. Trading Chad Ochocinco is probably next.

Carson Palmer has been an average quarterback since 2007.

He had a decent 82.4 quarterback rating and was sixth in the league in yards in 2010. He threw 20 interceptions and was 24th in the league in interception percentage. Palmer suffered because he was asked to do too much. He needs to be more of a caretaker.

If the Bengals can find their 2009 running game and maintain their strong defense, Palmer is the guy you want running the team.

Yes, Newton Is a Play Maker

Just look at what Newton accomplished in his final year at Auburn.

He had 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns through the air with only seven picks. He also put up 1,284 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground. He even had one receiving touchdown.

This guy can do it all.

The Bengals can't have a statue like Palmer standing there waiting for something to happen and expect to win.

They need a play maker.

No, He Has Only Started One Year

Newton did play a year at Blinn College in Texas, but he has had only one year of Division I football as a starter. Bengal fans have not yet forgotten Akili Smith. Like Newton, Smith was a one year starter at Oregon.

Smith had big stats in college too. In his senior season at Oregon, Smith threw for 3,763 yards with 30 touchdowns and only seven picks.

Unfortunately, smith came to the NFL unprepared and was a bust.

Taking a first round quarterback can't be a risk. Choosing Smith set the franchise back five years. Newton could do the same thing. He is a very raw passer who needs a lot of work.

Yes, He Could Be Another Mike Vick

Mike Vick has shown everyone that a running quarterback can have success in the right offense.

The Eagles are running a spread offense that fits Vick perfectly. The Bengals could do the same thing. Many of the top programs in college football are switching to a spread type of attack.The spread offense will become more and more prevalent in the league. Getting a quarterback who can excel in that system makes sense. Newton also could run the wildcat offense.

Way back in 1992, the Bengals drafted David Klingler with the seventh pick in the draft. The Bengals made the mistake of not changing their offense to suit Klingler's skill set. If they avoid that with Newton, all will be well in Cincinnati.

No, Newton Would Take a Beating

Running quarterbacks aren't elusive or fast enough to stay healthy in the NFL.

Michael Vick has ridiculous skills, but even he takes shots and misses games. Cam Newton doesn't compare to Vick. He likes to lower his shoulder, but that will be difficult in the NFL.

If you hand $50+ million to a quarterback that gets hit a lot, it could be trouble.

Yes, the Bengals Don't Care About

Cam Newton has his share of baggage.

Aside from the pay for play issues, he also has had legal concerns. Only two years ago, he was charged with burglary, larceny and obstruction of justice. These days, he seems to be more focused on becoming "an entertainer and icon".

However, Newton has matured a lot. He's not a slacker like JaMarcus Russell. Newton is in great shape and is a hard worker.

No, Take the Proven Quarterback

If the Bengals trade or lose Carson Palmer to retirement, they should take Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett.

These guys are a lot closer to playing in the NFL. Newton is a high dollar project who will need two or three years to be a starter.

Yes, Cam Newton Is a Winner

Cam Newton does what it takes to win games. He is the reason the Auburn Tigers were 14-0 and won the national title. If the team needed him to run, pass, or even catch, he did it.

He has a rocket arm and great athleticism, but his ability to perform when his team needs him the most sets him apart.

No, the Bengals Have Other Needs

The Bengals have too many other needs.

They would be better off using the pick to add a defensive lineman, an offensive lineman, a running back, or a cornerback.

Yes, Newton Will Put Butts in the Seats

The Bengals are an organization that needs some new life. A guy like Newton will bring some fresh energy to the team.

They have a young, hungry offensive coordinator. Adding a dynamic talent like Newton would bring people to Paul Brown Stadium to watch him play.

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