James Walker of ESPN.com reports that the Bengals are finally getting a little “private time” with Auburn QB and Heisman winner Cam Newton today and Monday. The meetings could go a long way towards helping the coaching staff determine whether or not Newton can be the future leader of Jay Gruden’s West Coast system.
Newton is considered a rare talent at the quarterback position, but lacks experience and that concern has some drawning comparisons to mega-busts like Akili Smith and Vince Young. The team is looking heavily at quarterbacks with Carson Palmer’s childish trade demands.
They will be forced the Bengals to draft at least one at some point, and are holding private sessions with other prospects at the position, including Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Mallett, Andy Dalton, and Christian Ponder.
Newton would no doubt bring some fan excitement, but questions whether or not he can play from under center, make precise throws, quick, smart decisions and lead a team of professionals remain to be seen.
The Bengals hope to answer those questions today, allowing them to make the most informed decision possible if Newton is there when the team goes on the clock.
The possibility of that eventuality seem to be growing slimmer, however, with the latest scuttlebutt being that the Panthers will look to Newton with the number one overall pick. Buffalo, picking at 3, will almost assuredly take a quarterback themselves (either Newton or Gabbert). Joe Reedy thinks Carolina will pick Gabbert at one, and Buffalo will be glad to take Newton at three, forcing the Bengals to look at a quarterback later in the draft.
Hobson feels the Bengals are best served by trading down and accumulating more selections, and we don’t disagree, especially if both Gabbert and Newton are off the board. However, trading is easier said than done. There must be a willing partner and enough value to allow the Bengals to sacrifice an A.J. Green or Nick Fairley as consolation.
With the CBA up in the air and free agency a pipe dream for the moment, the draft is the only forum for teams to get better. This makes this draft even more important than usual, and even more vital for the Bengals to come away with value.
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