ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper hosted a media conference call on Wednesday morning. Toward the end of the call, Kiper was asked about Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, and the possibility that the 2010 Heisman winner might land with the Bills.
Kiper says he’s spoken to people he “trusts” in the league, and came away feeling that Newton isn’t necessarily on Buffalo’s radar.
“(Ryan) Fitzpatrick, to me, was a very good quarterback,” Kiper insisted. Fitzpatrick, on his third NFL team at age 28, started 13 games last season and went 4-9.
Kiper predicted that one of this year’s elite quarterback prospects (Newton, Blaine Gabbert) would almost certainly be available for the Bills. But if Buffalo decided to pick between the two, Kiper wouldn’t expect it to be Newton. And that’s why he’s adjusted his latest mock draft.
“If you hit (on Newton), you could have a sensational quarterback for ten years,” Kiper acknowledged. “(But) if you miss, it sets you back three, four, five years.”
Kiper also assessed Newton’s limited college career, in which he went 14-0 as a starter at the FBS level and 25-1 overall:
“He was a one-year wonder. Akili Smith was a one-year wonder.”
Akili Smith, the No. 3 overall pick in 1999, is one of the biggest busts in draft history. A one-year starter at Oregon, Smith went on to start 17 games in the NFL, compiling a 3-14 record. His touchdown-to-interception ratio was 5:13. Smith finished his football career with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders.
And special thanks to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, who pointed out the biggest irony of all:
Kiper sends Cam Newton to the Bengals in his latest mock draft.