The man who loves everything and everyone (at least when the cameras and microphones are on) has extended his love to Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.
Former NFL coach Jon Gruden, who now works as an analyst on Monday Night Football, worked out Newton on Friday in conjunction with Gruden’s second annual in-depth visit with the top quarterback prospects.
“I think Cam Newton’s the best player in the country,” Gruden told Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune. “I agree with the Heisman Trophy people that gave him the award. He’s got everything I’m looking for.”
And it remains clear that it’s only a matter of time before Gruden once again is working for an NFL team.
“I miss coaching, but this is as close as it gets,” Gruden said. “We’ve had most of the top quarterback prospects here in the last few weeks. There are three juniors, Newton, [Blaine] Gabbert and [Ryan] Mallett, who, if they had stayed in school, may be a little more polished, but these are physically talented people. I think Andy Dalton and Jake Locker have some real upside as well.”
Newton appreciated the chance to work with Gruden. “It was fun being in this type of environment,” Newton said. “Having a chance to work out in Tampa, both physically and mentally, was great. We had an excellent time in the morning, going over some film, and I learned a lot. Working with Coach Gruden went far beyond my expectations. Just to meet the guy speaks volumes about his character and how much he expects out of anybody that comes into his coaching clinic.”
Newton remains pragmatic about the draft process that will unfold in 19 days. “To some degree, I’d like to go No. 1,” Newton said. “The most important thing is to come out each day and get better. That’s what I can control. . . . I can’t control where I get picked.”
Many continue to think he will indeed be the first player picked. If he isn’t, he won’t slide very far.