This nugget is a few days old, but our friend Brian Galliford had a post on SB Nation's main page about six teams apparently having Cam Newton at the top of their Draft board. Galliford speculates a pair of division rivals are among those teams.
Buffalo Bills (No. 3): This might actually be a beneficial situation for Newton. The Bills have a quarterback that they think they can win with in Ryan Fitzpatrick, but their brain trust (GM Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey) seem aware of the fact that he's not a long-term answer, as well. Here, Newton would be out of the spotlight for at least a year as he sat behind Fitzpatrick, worked with Gailey's coaching staff, and learned Gailey's offense. Buffalo has been looking for a franchise quarterback since Jim Kelly's retirement; they'd better be right if they pass on Newton.
Miami Dolphins (No. 15): Here, finally, we arrive at the team that Pauline references by name in his report:"We hear the Miami Dolphins have been inquiring heavily into Newton at this stage of the game."
Reports first surfaced last year that Dolphins upper management had lost faith in hand-picked starter Chad Henne, who fell short of lofty expectations in throwing 19 interceptions to just 15 touchdowns in 2010. If that remains true, the Dolphins once again lack a long-term answer at the position, though they certainly seem ready and willing to give Henne one last shot at a starting job next year. While Newton doesn't seem like a Bill Parcells type of QB - remember, GM Jeff Ireland is a Parcells disciple - there's little question that Newton would bring the type of star power to Miami that owner Stephen Ross clearly covets.
It is very difficult to project anybody at the NFL level, but I think Newton leaves much to be desired as a prospect. He was physically good enough to dominate the college game and has a huge frame with enticing physical tools. He also has a long way to go as a quarterback. He was pretty much running the single wing at Auburn. He did not have to make reads. He always had running through and around guys as a backup option, which won't work in the NFL where guys are bigger and stronger. His 66.1 completion percentage is deceiving when it comes to his accuracy as a thrower. He had a lot of receivers running open because opponents had to dedicate so many men to stopping the run. Watch a typical Auburn game and tell me how many times he had a clean pocket for 5 seconds or more and still managed to miss a wide open receiver.
This definitely feels like a Buffalo move. It would adding a big name without any context for how well that guy fits onto the team or how he would produce (C.J. Spiller, Shawne Merriman, switching to a 3-4 defense last year). There is also very little Miami has done recently that makes much sense from openly courting Jim Harbaugh to extending the coach who wasn't good enough to stop them from looking at Harbaugh to hiring Brian Daboll as offensive coordinator. I know Daboll didn't have much to work with in Cleveland, but it's not like he did much to improve things. There were actually fans there who wanted Brian Schottenheimer over him.
I would not be upset to see Newton with a division rival. He reminds me a lot of Vince Young. He could dominate college players without breaking a sweat. He has a long way to go if he wants to be a good NFL quarterback. It could happen, but it would be an enormous gamble to invest a lot in him.