Newton draws more flak

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:32 AM ET

Auburn’s Cam Newton, the likely No. 1 pick in Thursday’s 2011 NFL draft, is drawing criticism from the media again.

Now it’s the fact he’s in New York on his own dime (travel and accommodation) unlike the other draft picks and is not following the official draft itinerary.

He walked out on a scheduled media session Wednesday without talking to anyone. CBS Sports.com’s Clark Judge took him to task for it in a column. But what caught our eye was this last quote buried at the bottom of the story.

“It’s not that he’s a bad guy,” said one coach who spent time with Newton the past month. “It’s that he’s immature. He doesn’t make every-day decisions that most of us make for ourselves.

“Someone else does it for him. And if that continues in the pros it could be a problem.”

If he’s allowing his posse to make his decisions, there really is a problem.

BROTHER, BROTHER

It sounds like a nice idea, the Pittsburgh Steelers trading up in the draft to reunite All-Pro Centre Maurkice Pouncey with his twin brother Mike on the Pittsburgh offensive line, but it was ridiculed by the local Pittsburgh media.

The report came from NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora and while he’s standing by his story long-time Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette sounds very confident it’s not going to happen.

“They would practically have to throw away their entire draft to move high enough to draft him and that’s not going to happen, ” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s beat man wrote. “They would have to go from 31 to at the very least 15 and even then they might not get him because he’s been pegged as high as 12th in the first round. And to move that many spots in the first round would take, at the very least, their draft picks in the first, second and third rounds, or more.

“In 2006, the Steelers moved seven spots, from No. 32 to No. 25 in order to draft Santonio Holmes. It cost them their second-round draft choice to do so. What would it cost to move, say, 12 spots? 15?”

In other words, nice thought, just don’t expect it to actually happen.

FALCONS’ AIM HIGH

Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White and a matching stud wideout like A.J. Green?

Or possibly Julio Jones as a Plan B.

That’s what Sports Illustrated’s Peter King is hearing from the Atlanta Falcons a day before the first round of the NFL draft.

While he fully expects the Falcons to make the effort, King tweets it’s unlikely.

The top 10 is so wide open this year Jones could very well slip right out of it.

The move for the Falcons makes sense as a Green or Jones would offset the expected loss of Tony Gonzalez who is at most a year away from hanging up his cleats.

The other approach, and one King does not suggest although it’s been lobbied for from within Atlanta for quite some time, is the Falcons stay where they are at 27 where they would still be able to grab Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph.

He’s the best of the tight end class and, while it might require some patience, could slide nicely into Gonzalez’ old spot.

Notre Dame tight ends have a history of turning into good pros when you consider Mark Bavaro, Anthony Fasano and John Carlson all came out of Notre Dame.

ON THE CLOCK

Defensive tackle Corey Luiget has been climbing since the NFL Combine and appears to have found a home at No. 14 overall to St. Louis. The Rams would still love to get a Grade A wideout, but chances of one of A.J. Green or Julio Jones falling to them at 14 appear slim ... Houston Texans GM Rick Smith says he’s willing to move up or down on draft day depending on what is out there. The Texans, who have a new defensive coordinator in Wade Phillips, need help at linebacker and cornerback so the move up would be to get one of Von Miller or Patrick Peterson ... The Tennessee Titans are one of about 16 teams considering taking a quarterback at some point in the first two rounds. But like just about everyone else that isn’t the Carolina Panthers they’ll be watching closely for the right time. “I think it’s going to be fascinating to watch, to see when the run on the quarterbacks start,” GM Mike Reinfeldt told The Tennessean. “There’s a lot of good ones that are worthy of first or second rounds. If it starts early, it’s going to drive some teams to kind of jump into the first to get their guy. If it starts late, then maybe some teams hang on and hope they can pick up their guy in the second round. So that’s going to be the fun of watching the draft.”

DRAFT BITS

The Cincinnati Bengals picking 4th are a popular landing spot for Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert in many mock drafts. Reading between the lines here, we believe they will wait. “We’ve evaluated quarterbacks, but I don’t think we’re forced into any situation one way or another,” head coach Marvin Lewis told reporters recently. “We want to be very, very careful to make sure we get the value for the picks where we’re making them.” That sounds a lot like a second-round QB pick for Cincy ... Here’s one people aren’t talking enough about. Following the draft there is usually a rush on undrafted free agents. Until Judge Susan Nelson grants the NFL’s request to stay her ruling that ended the lockout or barring that the Eighth Circuit Court does so, it’s business as usual in the NFL which would allow for the undrafted free agents to be signed. That could be huge for a smart team like say the Houston Texans who got RB Arian Foster in this manner following the 2009 draft.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


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