Former Cowboys personnel man Gil Brandt was a draft guru even before other NFL teams had true draft gurus.
So we take his accrued experience seriously, and his experience says that talent always wins out in the draft. And Brandt thinks Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is the most talented player available.
“It would shock me . . . if he’s not the first player picked,” Brandt told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram on Monday. “If I was drafting and I had Carolina’s [No. 1] pick, I’d feel really good about who I was getting as far as ability. I just hope he realizes how hard he needs to work.”
Draftniks have gone from projecting Newton as a late first-round pick to a top-five selection. Nothing has really changed for Newton since the BCS title game, but this is the time of year that draft analysts usually start learning how the NFL actually views players. Then they adjust their own rankings to more closely match those views. (Gotta nail those Mock drafts!)
Brandt now writes for NFL.com as a draft analyst; his job is to get a feel for how NFL teams see prospects. We suspect he’s not the only one with this opinion on Newton.