Gil Brandt would be “shocked” if Cam Newton isn’t taken first overall

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 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.

46 responses to “Gil Brandt would be “shocked” if Cam Newton isn’t taken first overall

  1. When you draft someone number 1 overall, you don’t select a player who is going to be a pet project. You select a player who is ready to start with a decent amount of work. Newton is currently a player who needs more than just a decent amount of work.

    Talent and ability are two separate things. Just ask the Raiders about JaMarcus Russell.

  2. Cam actually has work ethic, he’s participating in the combine. Combo that with a rookie wage scale, this isn’t that much of a risk for Carolina. High reward though. Would I do it? No. Patrick Peterson is the top talent.

  3. “I just hope he realizes how hard he needs to work.” —- Hey, Gil Brandt is awesome and I really like listening to him —- At the same time that “I just hope he realizes how hard he needs to work.” quote is a scary one when drafting anyone, much less first overall —- I would have to “know for sure” (that’s my little quote) that Cam Newton realizes how hard he needs to work before I would make that pick —- Especially at QB because those guys have to be team leaders and the first guy in and the last to leave or it ain’t worth it

  4. I cringe at all you guys who compare Newton to Russell.

    By most accounts I’ve read, Newton has the work ethic to succeed, whereas I never heard one analyst say that Russell had anything approaching a good work ethic.

    I just don’t get it. These guys are really not similar at all.

  5. I think Carolina needs to go with defense with their 1st pick. Let Clausen get abused for another year and have another terrible year. This way they can go out and draft Andrew Luck next year.

    Rebuild your defense this year and then next year go for broke with Andrew Luck.

  6. ravensfreak00 says:
    Feb 22, 2011 11:57 AM
    The only quarterback who deserved to be taken no. 1 overall this year was Andrew Luck.

    While that may be true, it may also be true that the only player who deserved to be taken No. 1 is Luck also. Somebody has to go there.

  7. I watched every one of Jamarcus Russell’s games as a Raider. I followed him as closely as I could given the geography between myself and Oaktown. IMO comparing Cam Newton to JR is weak and inaccurate. Newton is participating in all of the combine drills – JR showed up grossly overweight and stood there looking like a walrus not participating in anything except the buffet line. Newton appears to be right physically, and his words appear to be from a kid who’s right mentally. Russell always came across as lathargic and disinterested when interviewed, Newton seems genuine and passionate. He deserves better than being compared to the biggest draft bust of all time until he proves otherwise.

  8. Why would they draft a QB? According to the very talented Mel Kiper Jr, they got the best QB in last years draft.

  9. billinva:

    Ive fallen asleep in my car before listening to that guy mumble through his past life.

    Its difficult to listen to, like watching Marinos last years as a Fin.

  10. “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.

    Nobody ever said that about Peyton Manning, Troy Aikman, or Montana…. BUUUT I did hear that about JaMarcus Russell, Akili Smith, and Ryan Leaf.

    Just sayin.

  11. Most guys who have been drafted high in the draft by the Bills have turned out to be busts. I don’t know if it is a Scouting issue for them, or due to poor performances they rush young players onto the field before they are ready.

  12. I’d be surprised if someone took him in the first round. If someone did, they deserve to lose their money. Cam can’t handle fortune and fame.

  13. Most of us are really just assuming Cam Newton will be a bust for no reason in particular. And people who are comparing him to Jamarcus Russell have no idea what they are talking about. JaMarcus could have been one of the best QB’s in the NFL if he had a strong work ethic, with Newton you already know hes going to give it his all.

  14. “So we take his accrued experience seriously, and his experience says that talent always wins out in the draft.”

    Then you’re both idiots. If talent always wins out in the draft how come at least 50% or higher of those early picks are total busts ?

    Its very clear that talent does not always win out or Tom Brady and other low round picks that have become stars would have been picked far sooner. Very often those marketing substandard players and their hype machines are what wins out.

    I can’t think of a more stupid statement I’ve ever heard about the draft.

  15. I just hope he realizes how hard he needs to work.


    I’ll bet it’s awfully hard to teach work ethic to a 21 year old million. Just sayin’. If he doesn’t have it now, it’s highly unlikely that he’s going to have good one.

  16. If you need help right away there is no QB in the draft for you this year. Carolina needs everything and can’t wait for Newton to develope into whatever he is going to be.

    By the way just because he’s black does not make him the next Jamarcus Russell.

  17. Cam Newton has the most upside, at the most important position.

    The problem is, I would not want to draft a “project” QB #1 overall, when the team is short veteran leadership and has a rookie head coach.

    Newton will need more structure around him to develop – and if he is drafted by Carolina- as the losses mount- the pressure to play him will be too much for the staff to ignore. – And there goes your team- crushed under the weight of a failed #1 pick – see David Carr

  18. cappa662 says: Feb 22, 2011 1:11 PM

    I’d be surprised if someone took him in the first round. If someone did, they deserve to lose their money. Cam can’t handle fortune and fame.

    Agreed. But his Dad can and will.

  19. Cam Newtons dad is working the NFL teams for his son’s second signing bonus in 3 years. Cecil Newton is trying to avoid a paycut with his son going to the NFL.

  20. I personally am not sold on Newton, the red flags on stealing lap tops, and alleged money taking, makes me glad my team has thier franchise QB.

    Its obvious he wanted things handed to him or he would just take it at one point in his life, while I do hope is past that stage. Its enough for me to not want him on my team.

    Auburn didn’t lose a game last season with him @ the helm, who’s not to say once adversity shows up and he is playing for a 4-6 win team for the first season and possibly 2-3 he won’t start mailing it in.

  21. This guy is the biggest risk in this year’s draft IMO. First, he has no experience in a pro style offense at all – he basically looked for his primary receiver and, if he wasn’t open, hejust took off and ran.

    Secondly, he appeared not to take too many solid hits, which is a plus for him, but the few times I did notice a solid hit on him – he really didn’t take it all that well. I don’t know if he could stand up to the punishment of the pro game.

    Lastly, he seems to me to be very fascinated with himself, to the point of great selfishness. Add this to the fact that he stole a computer, cheated on his grades and allowed his father to take the heat for trying to bribe another school – and I just don’t like his chances.

  22. Draft analysts have proven time and time again that they actually know very little. It’s very easy for them to say “he’s going to be a great NFL player if he works hard” about top prospects, because they’re top prospects for a reason. The Tebow move last year proves just how much mock drafts actually mean, for analysts it’s merely a lottery.

  23. Wow. What do you know? More folks comparing Newton to JR though they aren’t similar at all. I wonder why…

  24. In defense of Gil Brandt…

    There were only three prominent “draft experts” that were critical of Jamarcus Russell being a sure thing prospect. Those three were Peter King, Mike Mayock and Gil Brandt.

    I still think Cam Newton will be a bust because he doesn’t have the mental stones or experience to cut it in the NFL… but that’s another topic altogether.

  25. it has taken me a very, very long time but i am aboard the cam newton hype train. what did it for me? i went onto you tube and listened to every post game press conference that i could find on him. then i went back and looked at the press conferences of the other top qbs in this draft and jamarcus russel just for fun. this kid is no joke. he is personable, speaks intelligently, shows modesty, talks about film breakdown constantly, talks about ways that he needs to get better and constantly spreads praise to his team mates by name. no doubt he has a lot to learn about the qb position and i guess its possible that once he gets to the nfl and gets that payday he will become a sloth, but my initial feeling is that he has that desire and willingness to do what it takes to be great.
    anyone that says he is the next jamarcus, i would recommend going back and looking at the press conference like i did. about ten minutes in you will realize then only things these guys have in common are they are both black qbs that are athletic.

  26. he’s a mix of jamarcus russell and ryan leaf, the lazyness of russell and the attitude of leaf.

    Yeah he should be the #1 pick if you want to draft a qb again in 3 years.

  27. why so much hate 4 cam newton,and all the dumbass comparisons 2 russell?? next on u idiots agenda will be his wonderlic score!! haha dan marino had a 6 on his test and he panned out pretty well. alex smith scored like a 33 and graduated in 3 years but has not had one decent season in the league. jim kelly wasnt albert einstien but he sure knew how 2 play qb!! enough with the nonsense already jealous ppl please!!!

  28. Why is Gil Brandt releveant any more? Can’t wait for him and everyone else to be wrong about Newton….really tired of hearing about this guy. They sent Reggie Bush was can’t miss coming out too…..WRONG!!

  29. waitingguilty ,

    Don’t you know the rules, you only compare black QBs to black QBs and compare them to the worst ones when you want that player to fail. Although Russell and Newton have absolutely no parallells to their games, backgrounds, or work ethic….they’re both black so that’s good enough for the low life racists who troll this site, despite crying all the time that race doesn’t matter.

    It’s like when Russell came out, some morons were comparing him to Vince young although he was no where near as athletic, ran a more structured offense at LSU than Young’s spread option at Texas and the obvious differences in their leadership styles. Guess it goes back to that old saying, “They all look alike.”

    However, there’s no race issues in America…everything’s just fine because after 232 years (save those 187 when black people were considered either property or lower than dogs), we elected a black President…yet when I scroll comments here all I see are racially insensitive comments coming from people who need to get a clue.

  30. Tampa couldn’t afford to wait for Josh Freeman to develop, but they did anyways and it started paying dividends for them this year. Newton ran allot more than Freeman did in college, but they are very comparable in terms of skill, only Newton is 2x the athlete Freeman is.

    NFC South teams should tremble in fear at the idea that we would draft Cam Newton, he’ll be a dual threat on par with Vick, only he’ll put the work into it from day 1, unlike Vick.

  31. dolfan34 says:
    Feb 22, 2011 2:59 PM
    Why is Gil Brandt releveant any more? Can’t wait for him and everyone else to be wrong about Newton….really tired of hearing about this guy. They sent Reggie Bush was can’t miss coming out too…..WRONG!!


    This is sad. People actually “want” Newton to fail. How morally bankrupt is this?

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