1. Even after arguing vehemently that he would not be the first pick in the 2011 draft on a recent radio show, I am becoming increasingly convinced that Carolina is leaning toward making Cam Newton the top pick. I hate doing anything vehemently, so to have argued vehemently in vain is especially upsetting.
2. Ron Rivera is the new guy and if he wants to start fresh with a player that made college teams look like pee-wee clubs last year, he will probably be allowed to do so. Most owners in the NFL understand the importance of not saddling a brand new coach with baggage from a previous regime. Cough, cough...most owners.
3. As Peter King reported in his MMQB, the Dolphins are digging deep into Newton's junior college playing days to try their hardest to fill out the profile of what some consider to be a "phony" individual. Seriously...is Holden Caulfield writing these scouting reports? I don't buy the argument that he is phony or not interested in being a great football player. You have to be committed on a number of levels to plow through the game of football the way Newton has the last four years. It is fair to argue whether he can be a good pro quarterback, but it seems rather insincere to knock Newton's personality given the state of the American professional athlete in 2011.
4. The fact of the matter is that there is a scarcity of elite talent at the quarterback position in the NFL. There are plenty of good ones that teams can win with, but as long as teams are starting guys like, oh, I don't know...Rex Grossman, then you know that there are not enough 5-star guys to headline in 32 cities. (For the record, we need Rex.) So if you think one is available when you draft in the 1st round, you are obligated to take him unless you already have one of the elite guys.
5.Jimmy Clausen is an interesting piece in all this of course. He struggled as a rookie, which most quarterbacks do. He showed a flash here and there, which many rookie quarterbacks do. But to enter your second season as the starting quarterback for a new coaching regime, you have to have the faith of a lot of people inside an organization. You have to be a hard worker, a good leader and whether you think it is fair or not, you have to be able to sell tickets. Based on Carolina's due diligence, it would seem that these things are in question at the moment for the former golden domer.
6. Unless...you just want certain other teams to THINK you are going to take Cam Newton so you can trade down and fill one of the other dozen needs you must have since, after all, you were bad enough to earn the top pick.
There's your answer.