Two years ago, Mel Kiper was correct about the Redskins’ eventual first-round draft pick from the moment he released his first official mock draft. On January 22nd, 2009, Kiper predicted that Brian Orakpo of the Texas Longhorns would be Washington’s pick; just shy of two years later, Orakpo in unofficially slated to go to his second consecutive Pro Bowl wearing a burgundy and gold helmet. Nice work, Mel!
Last year didn’t go quite so well for Kiper’s Redskins projections. His first effort, almost exactly a year ago, had QB Sam Bradford going to Washington. And who knows, perhaps Kiper would’ve been correct on that as well — but Bradford’s stock rose and he wasn’t on the board for Washington to even consider.
On the other hand, that wouldn’t have mattered to Kiper’s projections, because a month later in his version 2.0 mock, he had switched the Redskins pick to QB Jimmy Clausen — with Bradford still on the board. “Clausen will gain momentum after the combine,” Kiper confidently wrote. “Once he’s fully recovered from his toe surgery, he’ll show teams he can make the throws, but there’s more to it. His intelligence, competitiveness and toughness will impress personnel people, and his stock will rise.”
This, of course, was spectacularly, catastrophically wrong in almost every way imaginable, but it’s worth bringing up now because it’s that time of the year again: Mel Kiper has emerged from his eight-month hibernation period blinking in the winter sun, and — as is the way of his people — immediately released a mock draft. And like last year, it features the Redskins taking a big-name quarterback with their first-round pick — specifically Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, from the National Champion Auburn Tigers.
The actual mock draft is for ESPN Insiders only, but ESPN’s NFC East blogger Matt Mosley was kind enough to post Kiper’s commentary on Newton for us ESPN Outskirters: “A gifted athlete, Newton has good arm strength and size, has developing accuracy and continues to show that the more you ask him as a passer, the more he’ll develop. This spot might be a bit high based on his current grade in the eyes of scouts, but Newton’s skill-set is such that personnel people are going to become more enamored, if they already aren’t. Newton has character questions that need to be answered, but the Redskins have a long-term need at this position and the prospect of developing Newton is a tantalizing one.”
And, as is also traditional at this time of the year, the sportsy internet has very nearly trampled over itself in their rush to respond to Kiper’s vaguely-reasoned prediction. (I mean, really: “people are going to become more enamored”? Because it worked so well when he suggested that “Clausen will gain momentum after the combine”?)
Anyhow, here’s what people are saying about the Cam Newton possibility.
Tags: 2011 nfl draft, cam newtown, Media, offseason speculation, OffseasonSpeculation
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